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Kate DouglasWiqqin and Nora A.Smith 

Illustrated By K C, WYETH 

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By Jane Porter 

Illustrated by N.C.WYETH 


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Printed in the United States of America 


Re- m' vail 


The copy of "Scottish Chiefs" which was the companion of my 
early days had a cover of dark red cloth and when I first caught sight 
of the last American edition bound in gay tartan I felt a certain 
bereavement, as if I had lost a friend. The volume of my childhood 
had been literally "read to death," the common occurrence being that 
while I was finishing my allotted chapter a younger sister was dancing 
disturbingly on one foot, awaiting her turn to know what might be 
happening to Sir William Wallace. 

When, however, the beloved book lay before me for this present 
re-reading, the magic was still there and my eyes flew to lines that 
had thrilled me long ago: 

"It was the iron head of an arrow which the moon had silvered; and Ker, 
catching it up exclaimed: 'Wallace is safe! This calls us to Glenfinlass !' " 

(Oh, so many years since the arrow had first called me to Glenfin- 
lass; how eagerly I followed, and how ready I was to follow again!) 
Then I turned another leaf, haphazard and met the passage : 

"And by the ghost of that same Fergus, I swear," exclaimed Murray, "that 
my honest claymore shall never shroud its head while an invader be left alive in 
Scotland !" 

I might have been a child again, hearing my mother's voice calling 
me to supper from my nook in the window-seat, while I pleaded: 
"Oh! only five more minutes, please! Wallace has just rescued Lady 
Helen and he's bearing her in his arms over the rushing torrent on a 
bridge of a single tree!" 

There was a particular passage that incited us to dangerous 
acrobatics in those young days. It was one of the miraculous feats 
of strength and skill daily performed by the gallant Wallace, that 
acted as a direct inspiration to similar exploits, — exploits most difficult 
to achieve in the upper chamber of a Maine cottage with beds, chairs 
and stools to serve for Highland scenery: 

"Looking up I beheld a young chieftain with a bow in his hand leaping from 
cliff to cliff, till, springing from a high projection on the right he alighted at once 
at the head of a wounded deer." 


As I remember, we never arrived precisely at the wounded deer, 
(impersonated by a sable muff), but oh, the delight of. the attempt, 
even though bruises were more plentiful than triumphs. So trivial 
a reminiscence is recounted merely because I feel keenly the value of 
any work of fiction that can awaken in its readers such ardor of 
sympathy, such intensity of interest, such a belief in the reality of its 
characters, such admiration and reverence for their magnificent 
moments ! 

You may say that all this means chiefly the enthusiasm of child- 
hood, but when after an interval of more than forty years the book 
again casts the same spell, what reason for it can there be save that 
it is not only enchanting, pathetic, romantic, breathless in suspense, 
but that it is thrilling in its rapidity of movement and its astonishing 
wealth of incidents? After the lapse of over a century, for readers 
first wept over its tragedies in 1809, it remains a masterpiece to be 
enjoyed by each succeeding generation. 

If Miss Jane Porter sometimes exaggerated the virtues of the 
noble Wallace, his achievements never fell upon incredulous ears in 
the days of youth, nor do they now, when I heartily believe that she 
is right in acclaiming him as "one of the most complete heroes that 
ever filled the page of history." 

The author's portraits of Wallace, of Robert the Bruce, Edwin 
Ruthven and Andrew IVIurray are penned with a high enthusiasm 
that lifts the reader to her own altitudes. She bathes them in glory 
and we see them with her eyes; but though "Scottish Chiefs" is a 
panegyric, rather than a formal history, it has been accepted by critics 
as genuine in spirit, if not in absolute detail. 

In her second preface, written in 1840, the author tells us how 
the central figures of her novel first appeared before the eyes of her 
imagination. She was less than six years old when lullabies of 
"Wallace Wight" were sung to her in her Edinburgh nursery; while 
in the great hall the old serving-man told wondrous tales of the Battles 
of Bannockburn and Cambuskenneth. 

But her chief instructress in these legends was Luckie Forbes, a 
pious old dame who lived near by, and who, as she would tell of the 
times of the brave Sir William Wallace when he fought for Scotland, 
would narrate his heartrending sacrifices for his country and his 
tragic death at the hands of a ruthless tyrant. 

So the hero of Caledonia was first roughly sketched upon the 
canvas of the childish mind and the study of after years filled in the 
details and laid on the colors. The author spared no pains, she tells 
us, in consulting almost every writing extant which treats of the sister 


kingdoms during the period of her narrative (1296 to 1305), but to 
know every word of Speed and Buchanan and Hohnshed, of Bar- 
bour's "Bruce," of the old epic song of "Thyr Wilham Wallace," of 
the letters of the royal Edward and Pope Boniface, of the rhymes of 
Thomas of Ercildowne and the verses of "Blinde Harrie," — all these 
would have availed her nothing without the flame of genius with which 
she fused them into a new and glittering substance. 

If, broadly speaking, my particular generation may have been 
the last to be wholly engrossed in the story, what welcome will it have 
from the present one? 

Neither of the editors believes in abridging the classics; still less 
in altering, interrupting, or adding to a text that should be sacred; 
but we hope that we have taken away from the present edition nothing 
but negligible phrases, paragraphs that are not a part of the main 
flow of the story ; a little of the descriptive matter, retaining the most 
beautiful where there is little else than sheer beauty; preserving the 
historic content, and not allowing a single romantic incident to escape 
us in a world that sometimes threatens to be dull, dreary and lacking 
in idealism. 

It is a thousand pities to let so great a book lose its hold because 
the readers of the mid-nineteen hundreds are possessed by the demon 
of haste. I greeted the very "thickness" of "Scottish Chiefs" in my 
childhood with sighs of ineffable content and blissful anticipation, but 
one has only to stand nowadays near the public library desks where 
young people are served, to learn that two thin books are more 
popular than one thick one. 

Happy Jane Porter, carefully-sheltered young English spinster, 
writing in the green garden of her cottage in Thames-Ditton ! 
Imagine her, unconscious of future glory, penning in 1809 her first 
preface to a book which was to create a sensation throughout Great 
Britain, be translated into the languages of the Continent, be read 
by kings, queens and princes, and finally invoke the censorship of the 
great Napoleon himself! 

There must have been later days of splendid triumph for the 
modest author, for she was frequently saluted in theaters, concert- 
rooms and by military bands on parade-grounds, with that true 
pibroch of Scotland: 

"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled, 
Scots wham Bruce hath often led. 
Welcome to your gory bed, 
* Or to victory!" 


same costly metal on his head, crested with white feathers. Had the 
scene been in Palestine he might have been mistaken for a guardian 
angel in arms." 

JNIiss Porter's constructive imagination and plot-sense are fully 
equal to her self-imposed task of successfully building a great ro- 
mantic structure and holding the interest throughout. Thrilling 
escapes through mysterious underground passages, movable pillars, 
secret doors, flagstones that lift and lead to friars' cells, — these 
abound, and with them wardrobes replete with disguises used to evoke 
suspense, such as that worn by Wallace as a wandering minstrel at 
the court of Edward, the Usurper. 

Of course Margaret of France, Edward's youthful queen, fell in 
love with him like everybody else, and made him, as well as herself, 
a deal of trouble by so doing; but no disguise was sufficient to save 
so heroic a being from that fate! 

Then there is the lovely Lady Helen, clad as a page, leaping from 
her window to the pleasaunce beneath, to travel by land and sea to 
the side of her adored Wallace, a prisoner in the Tower of London. 

As a last example the book holds nothing more breathlessly excit- 
ing than the disguise in full armor, of Joanna, the treacherous 
Countess of Mar, as the "Knight of the Green Plume," with the 
glowing beauty of her face hidden by a warrior's casque. 

Miss Porter had a rare knack at creating villains, and Soulis, De 
Valence, Heselrigge, Cressingham, and Monteith are certainly an 
unequalled quintet. It must also be conceded that she did not believe 
villainy to be a purely masculine attribute, for the above-mentioned 
Lady Mar, fair Helen's step-mother, seemed to my youthful mind 
in every way more malignant than Lady Macbeth, whose character 
often gave me great concern. 

The mysterious iron coffer given to Wallace in the first chapter 
as containing something precious, is an interesting thread in the plot, 
appearing, disappearing and reappearing on the screen from time 
to time, passing from hand to hand, continually in danger, but the 
cover never once lifted, nor its contents disclosed, until the very end 
of the book, where it is seen on the coffin of Wallace, its preserver, and, 
being opened by the royal Bruce, is found to contain the regalia of 

The knight of stainless honor upon whom this regalia had so often 
been urged, had in the meantime perished on the scaffold in the Tower 
of London and the pages dealing with his death, and the supreme 
devotion of Lady Helen, are perhaps the most touching and inspiring 
in the book. 


It ends there, in London Tower, the tragic story filled with lofty 
sentiment, with splendid deeds, with chivalry to foe and matchless 
fidelity to friend, with w^arfare redeemed from bloodshed by the glory 
of the cause ; and from it all there emerges a great and romantic figure 
in Sir William Wallace. The world has always needed heroes and it 
needs them sadly now, for the "greatest good a hero does to the race 
is to be a hero and thereby inspire others to heroic living." 

There is a gloom in many literary and dramatic productions that 
ends nowhere, but diffuses black chaos and a fatalism for which no 
youthful reader is the better; but the tragedy of the last chapters in 
"Scottish Chiefs" begets only infinite sadness, shot through by beams 
of light. 

Their trust in God and their passionate love of country make Miss 
Porter's men and women ofi^er their lives gladly, not grudgingly. 
Death leaves them with a smile on their lips and the young reader 
feels a clean wand sweeping across his face, drying the tears in his 
eyes. A new love of high achievement and brave living has been born 
in him and as he rises to put the book away he does not forget the 
phrase : God armeth the patriot. 

Kate Douglas Wiggix. 



Introduction by Kate Douglas Wiggin . , » . v 

I. Scotland ........... 1 

II. Lanark 11 

III. Ellerslie . 23 

IV. Corie Lynn 32 

V. Lanark Castle ......... 38 

VI. Cartlane Craigs ......... 40 

VII. Bothwell Castle ......... 46 

VIIL Bothwell Chapel 50 

IX. Bothwell Dungeons ........ 54 

X. St. Fillan's 59 

XL The Chapter-House 65 

XII. Drumshargard ......... 71 

XIIL Banks of the Clyde ...... . . 76 

XIV. The Pentland Hills 83 

XV. The Hut 87 

XVL The Glen of Stones . 92 

XVII. The Hermit's Cell 99 

XVIII. Cartlane Craigs and Glenfinlass IDS 

XIX. Craignacoheilg . . . . . . . . .113 

XX. The Cliffs OF Loch Lubnaig 117 

XXI. Loch Lomond 121 

XXII. Dumbarton Rock 125 

XXIII. The Fortress 130 

XXIV. The Great Tower 137 

XXV. The Citadel 147 

XXVI. The Firth of Clyde 159 

XXVII. IsL2 OF Bute 166 

XXVIII. The Barns of Ayr 174 

XXIX. Berwick and the Tweed 183 

XXX. Stirling 188 

XXXI. Cambus-Kenneth 200 

XXXII. Stirling Castle 206 

XXXIII. Stirling Citadel 215 

XXXIV. The Carse of Stirling 221 

XXXV. Snawdoun Palace 225 




XXXVI. Stirling Castle and Council-Hall . . . . .231 

XXXVII. The Governor's Apartments ....... 236 

XXXVIII. Chapel in Snawdoun ........ 241 

XXXIX. The Carse of Stirling 251 

XL. The Cheviots .......... 255 

XLI. LOCHMABEN CaSTLE ...... . . 259 

XLII. Lammington ........ . . 262 

XLIII. Stanmore .......... 272 

XLIV. Stirling and Snawdoun ...... . . 280 

XLV. Banks of the Forth ........ 289 

XLVI. Falkirk 205 

XLVII. Carron Banks 307 

XLVIII. Church of Falkirk . . . . . . . .314 

XLIX. The Monastery 321 

L. Durham 327 

LI. The Bishop's Palace 338 

LII. Gallic Seas .......... 350 

LIII. Normandy 356 

LIV. Chateau Galliard ......... 362 

LV. Forest of Vincennes ........ 371 

LVI. Paris 374 

LVII. The Louvre 381 

LVIII. Scotland 385 

LIX. RosLYN Castle 393 

LX. Berwick 397 

LXI. The Camp 402 

LXII. Stirling Castle ......... 407 

LXIII. Arthur's Seat ......... 421 

LXIV. Dalkeith 425 

LXV. Hawthorndean ....... . . 429 

LXVI. Wallace's Tent 433 

LXVII. Banks of the Esk 437 

LXVIII. Lumloch ........... 444 

LXIX. Hunting-Tower ......... 453 

LXX. The Thames . 458 

LXXI. The Tower of London 460 

LXXII. The State Dungeon ........ 469 

LXXIII. Tower Hill 476 

LXXIV. The Warden's Apartments ....... 478 

LXXV. Highgate 483 

LXXVI. Scotland — Dumfries ........ 486 

LXXVII. Stirling 492 

LXXVIII. Bannockburn 495 



Wallace and IVIarion 2 

Being resigned to bury his youth, — since its strength could no longer 
be serviceable to his country, — books, his harp, and the sweet con- 
verse of his Marion, became the occupations of his days. 

The Pledge 36 

"Death and Lady Marion !" was echoed with shouts from mouth to 

Helen Descends the Glen of Stones 94 

As they mounted the wall of this immense amphitheatre, Helen 
watched the sublime uprise of the king of light. 

The Battle of Stirling Castle 198 

But all his promptitude proved of no effect. The walls were giving 
way in parts, and Wallace was mounting by scaling-ladders and clasp- 
ing the parapets with bridges from his towers. 

The Wounded Helen 248 

He hastened through the dark passage, and almost flying along the 
lighted galleries entered the hall. 

King Edward 278 

Wallace Draws the King's Sword 318 

"This sword I made the arm of the usurper yield to me; and this 
sword shall defend the regent of Scotland." 

Bruce on the Beach 386 

When Bruce leaped upon the beach, he turned to Wallace and said 
with exultation, though in a low voice, "Scotland now receives her 
king. This earth shall cover me, or support my tlu'one." 

Death of Edwin 450 

Edwin lay extended on the ground, with an arrov.- qui\'ering in his 
breast; his closing eyes still looked upwards to his friend. 





Bright was the summer of 1296. The war which had desolated Scot- 
land was then at an end. Ambition seemed satiated; and the 
vanquished, after having passed under the yoke of their enemy, con- 
cluded they might wear their chains in peace. Such were the hopes 
of those Scottish noblemen who, early in the preceding spring, had 
signed the bond of submission to a ruthless conqueror, purchasing life 
at the price of all that makes life estimable, — liberty and honor. 

Prior to this act of vassalage, Edward I., king of England, had 
entered Scotland at the head of an imiuense army. He seized Berwick 
by stratagem; laid the country in ashes; and, on the field of Dunbar, 
forced the Scottish king and his nobles to acknowledge him their liege 

But while the courts of Edward, or of his representatives, were 
crowded by the humbled Scots, the spirit of one brave man remained 
unsubdued. Disgusted alike at the facility with which the sovereign 
of a warlike nation could resign his people and his crown into the 
hands of a treacherous invader, and at the pusillanimity of the nobles 
who had ratified the sacrifice, William Wallace retired to the glen of 
Ellerslie. Withdrawn from the world, he hoped to avoid the sight of 
oppressions he could not redress, and the endurance of injuries beyond 
his power to avenge. 

Thus checked at the opening of life in the career of glory that was 
his passion, he repressed the eager aspirations of his mind, and strove 
to acquire that resignation to inevitable evils which alone could recon- 
cile him to forego the promises of his youth, and enable him to view 
with patience a humiliation of Scotland, which blighted her honor, and 
consigned her sons to degradatir^n or obscurity. The latter was the 
choice of Wallace. Too noble to bend his spirit to the usurper, too 
honest to affect submission, he resigned himself to the only way left 
of maintaining the independence of a true Scot; and giving up the 



world at once, all the ambitions of youth became extinguished in his 
breast. Scotland seemed proud of her chains. Not to share in such 
debasement appeared all that was now in his power; and within the 
shades of Ellerslie he found a retreat and a home, whose sweets made 
him sometimes forget the wrongs of his country in the tranquil enjoy- 
ments of wedded love. 

During the happy months of the preceding autumn, while Scot- 
land was yet free, and the path of honorable distinction still open 
before her young nobility, Wallace married Marion Braidfoot, the 
beautiful heiress of Lammington. Nearly of the same age, and 
brought up from childhood together, affection had grown with their 
growth; and sympathy of taste and virtues, and mutual tenderness, 
had made them entirely one. 

Edward's invasion of Scotland broke in upon their innocent joys. 
Wallace threw aside the wedding garment for the cuirass and the 
sword. But he was not permitted long to use either: Scotland sub- 
mitted to her enemies; and he had no alternative but to bow to her 
oppressors, or to become an exile from man, amid the deep glens of 
his country. 

The tower of Ellerslie was henceforth the lonely abode of himself 
and his bride. The neighboring nobles avoided him, because the prin- 
ciples he declared were a reproach on their proceedings; and in the 
course of time, as he forbore to seek them, they even forgot his exist- 
ence. Indeed, all occasions of mixing with society he now rejected. 
The hunting-spear with which he had delighted to follow the flying 
roebuck from glade to glade, the arrows with which he used to bring 
down the heavy ptarmigan or the towering eagle, all were laid aside. 
Scottish liberty' was no more, and Wallace would have blushed to 
have shown himself to the free-born deer of his native hills in com- 
munion of sports with the spoilers of his country. Had he pursued 
his once favorite exercises, he must have mingled with the English, 
now garrisoned in every town, and who passed their hours of leisure 
in the chase. 

Being resigned to bury his youth, — since its strength could no 
longer be serviceable to his country, — books, his harp, and the sweet 
converse of his Marion, became the occupations of his days. Ellerslie 
was his hermitage ; and there, closed from the world, with an angel his 
companion, he might have forgotten Edward was lord in Scotland, 
had not that which was without his little paradise made a way to its 
gates, and showed him the slavery of the nobles and the wretchedness 
of the people. In these cases, his generous hand gave succor, where 
it could not bring redress. Those whom the lawless plunderer had 

Copyriylit by Charles Scri.\,ner s So 

Wallace and Marion 


driven from their houses or stripped of their covering, found shelter, 
clothing, and food at the house of Sir William Wallace. 

Several months of this blissful solitude had elapsed, when Lady 
Wallace saw a chieftain at her gate. He inquired for his master, 
requested a private conference, and they remained together for an 
hour. Wallace then came forth, and ordering his horse, with four 
followers, said he meant to accompany his guest to Douglas castle. 
When he embraced his wife at parting, he told her that as Douglas 
was only a few miles distant, he should be at home again before the 
moon rose. 

She passed the tedious hours of his absence with tranquillity, till 
the appointed signal of his return appeared from behind the summits 
of the opposite mountains. So bright were its beams that Marion 
did not need any other light to show her the stealing sands of her 
hour-glass, as they numbered the hours of her husband's stay. She 
dismissed her servants to their rest, all excepting Halbert, the gray- 
haired harper of Wallace ; and he, like herself, was too unaccustomed 
to the absence of his master to find sleep while Ellerslie was bereft of 
its joy and its guard. 

As the night advanced. Lady Wallace sat in the window of her 
bed-chamber, which looked towards the west. She watched the 
winding pathway that led from Lanark down the opposite heights, 
eager to catch a glimpse of the waving plumes of her husband when 
he should emerge from behind the hill, and pass under the thicket 
which overhung the road. How often, as a cloud obscured for an 
instant the moon's light and threw a shade across the path, did her 
heart bound with the thought that her watching was at an end! It 
was he whom she had seen start from the abrupt rock. They were the 
folds of his tartan that darkened the white cliff. But the moon again 
rolled through her train of clouds, and threw her light around. 
Where, then, was her Wallace? Alas! it was only a shadow she had 
seen; the hill was still lonely, and he whom she sought was yet far 
away. Overcome with watching and disappointment, unable to say 
whence arose her fears, she sat down again to look; but her eyes were 
blinded with tears, and she exclaimed, "Not yet, not yet! Ah, my 
Wallace, what evil hath betided thee?" . 

Trembling with a nameless terror, she knew not what to dread. 
She believed that all hostile encounters had ceased, when Scotland no 
longer contended Mnth Edward. The nobles, without remonstrance, 
had surrendered their castles into the hands of the usurper; and the 
peasantry, following the example of their lords, had allowed their 
homes to be ravaged without lifting an arm in their defense. Opposi- 


tion being over, nothing could then threaten her husband from the 
enemy; and was not the person who had taken him from EllersHe, 
a friend? 

Before Wallace's departure, he had spoken to Marion alone; he 
told her that the stranger was Sir John ^lonteith, the youngest son 
of the brave Walter, Lord Monteith, who had been treacherously put 
to death by the English in the early part of the foregoing year. This 
young man was bequeathed by his dying father to the particular 
charge of his friend William, Lord Douglas, at that time governor of 
Berwick. After the fall of that place and the captivity of its defender, 
Sir John Monteith had retired to Douglas castle, in the vicinity of 
Lanark, and was nftw the sole master of that princely residence; 
James Douglas, the only son of its veteran lord, being still at Paris, 
whither he had been despatched, before the defeat at Dunbar, to 
negotiate a league between the French monarch and the then King 
of Scots. 

Informed of the privacy in which Wallace wished to live, Monteith 
had never ventured to disturb it until this day ; but knowing the honor 
of his old school-companion, he came to entreat him, by the respect 
he entertained for the brave Douglas, and by his love for his country, 
that he would not refuse to accompany him to the brave exile's 

"I have a secret to disclose to you," said he, "which cannot be 
divulged on any other spot." 

Unwilling to deny so small a favor, Wallace, as has been said 
before, consented, and accordingly was conducted by Monteith to- 
wards Douglas. 

While descending the heights which led to the castle, Monteith 
kept a profound silence; and when crossing the drawbridge towards 
it, he put his finger to his lips, in token to the servants for equal 
caution. This was explained as they entered the gate and looked 
around. It was guarded by English soldiers. Wallace would have 
drawn back, but Monteith laid his hand on his arm and whispered, 
"For your country!" At these words, a spell to the ear of Wallace, 
he proceeded, and his attendants followed into the court-yard. 

The sun was just setting as Monteith led his friend into the absent 
earl's room. Its glowing reflection on the distant hills reminded 
Wallace of the stretch he had to retread to reach his home before mid- 
night ; and thinking of his anxious Marion, he awaited with impatience 
the development of the object of his journey. 

Monteith closed the door, looked fearfully around for some time, 
then, trembling at every step, approached Wallace. When drawn 


quite near, in a low voice he said, "You must swear upon the cross that 
you will keep inviolate the secret I am going to reveal." 

Wallace put aside the hilt of the sword which Monteith presented 
to receive his oath: "No," said he, with a smile; "in these times I will 
not bind my conscience on subjects I do not know. If you dare trust 
the word of a Scotsman and a friend, speak out; and if the matter be 
honest, my honor is your pledge." 

"You will not swear?" 


"Then I must not trust you." 

"Then our business is at an end," returned Wallace, rising, "and 
I may return home." 

"Stop!" cried Monteith. "Forgive me, my old companion, that I 
have dared to hesitate, but the nature of the confidence reposed in 
me will, I hope, convince you that I ought not to share it rashly. Of 
any one but you, I would exact oaths; but your word is given, and on 
that I rely. Await me here." 

Monteith unlocked a door which had been concealed by the 
tapestry, and after a short absence reentered with a small iron box. 
He set it on the table near his friend, then went to the great door, tried 
that the bolts were secure, and returned, with a still more pallid coun- 
tenance, towards the table. Wallace, surprised at such precaution, 
and at the apprehension visible in these actions, awaited with wonder 
the promised explanation. Monteith sat down with his hand on the 
box, and fixing his eyes on it, began: 

"I am going to mention a name which you may hear with patience, 
since its power is no more. The successful rival of Bruce, and the 
enemy of your family, is now a prisoner in the Tower of London." 


"Yes," answered Monteith; "and his present sufferings will, per- 
haps, avenge to you his vindictive resentment of the injury he received 
from Sir Ronald Crawford." 

"My grandfather never injured him, nor any man," interrupted 
Wallace. "Sir Ronald Crawford was as incapable of injustice as 
of flattering the minions of his country's enemy. But Baliol is fallen, 
and I forgive him." 

"Did you witness his degradation," returned Monteith, "you would 
even pity him." 

"I always pity the wicked," continued Wallace; "and as you seem 
ignorant of the cause of his enmity against Sir Ronald and myself, 
I will explain it. I first saw Baliol four years ago, when I accom- 
panied my grandfather to witness the arbitration of the King of 


England between the two contending claimants for the Scottish 
crown. Sir Ronald came on the part of Bruce. I was deemed too 
young to have a voice in the council ; but I was old enough to under- 
stand what was passing there, and to perceive, in the crouching 
demeanor with which Baliol received the crown, that it was the price 
for which he sold his country. However, as Scotland acknowledged 
him sovereign, and as Bruce submitted, my grandfather silently 
acquiesced. But Baliol did not forget former opposition. His be- 
havior to Sir Ronald and myself at the beginning of this year, when, 
according to the privilege of our birth, we appeared in the field against 
the public enemy, fully demonstrated what was the injury Baliol 
complains of, and how unjustly he drove us from the standard of 
Scotland. 'None,' said he, 'shall serve under me who presumed to 
declare themselves the friends of Bruce.' Edward having made use 
of him, all these sacrifices of honor and of conscience are insufiicient 
to retain his favor, and Baliol is removed from his kingdom to an 
English prison. I do indeed pity him. And now that I have cleared 
my grandfather's name of such calumny, I am ready to hear you 

]Monteith, after remarking on the well-known honor of Sir Ronald 
Crawford, resumed. 

"During the massacre at the capture of Berwick, Lord Douglas, 
wounded and nearly insensible, was taken by a trusty band of Scots 
out of the citadel and town. I followed him to Dunbar, and witnessed 
with him that day's dreadful conflict, which completed the triumph 
of the English. When the few nobles who survived the battle dis- 
persed, Douglas took the road to Forfar, hoping to meet King Baliol 
there, and to concert with him new plans of resistance. When we 
arrived, we found his IVIajesty in close conversation with the Earl of 
Athol, who had persuaded him the disaster at Dunbar was decisive, 
and that if he wished to save his life he must immediately go to the 
King of England and surrender himself to his mercy. 

"Douglas tried to alter Baliol's resolution, but without effect. 
The king could not return any reasonable answers to the arguments 
which were offered to induce him to remain, but continued to repeat, 
with gi'oans and tears, 'It is my fate!' Athol sat knitting his black 
brows during this conversation ; and, at last throwing out some sullen 
remarks to Lord Douglas, on exhorting the king to defy his liege lord, 
he abruptly left the room. 

"As soon as he was gone, Baliol rose from his seat with an anxious 
countenance, and taking my patron into an adjoining room, they con- 
tinued there a few minutes, and then reentered. Douglas brought 


with him this iron box. 'Monteith,' said he, 'I confide this to your 
care.' Putting the box under my arm, and concealing it with my cloak 
— 'Carry it,' continued he, 'directly to my castle in Lanarkshire. I 
will rejoin you there in four and twenty hours after your arrival. 
Meanwhile, by your fidelity to your king, breathe not a word of what 
has passed.' 

" 'Look on that, and be faithful!' said Baliol, putting this ruby 
ring on my finger. I withdrew with the haste his look dictated, and 
as I crossed the outward hall was met by Athol. He eyed me sternly, 
and inquired whither I was going. I replied, 'To Douglas, to prepare 
for the coming of its lord.' The hall was full of armed men in Athol's 
colors. Not one of the remnant who had followed my patron from 
the bloody field of Dunbar was visible. Athol looked round on his 
myrmidons: 'Here,' cried he, 'see that you speed this fellow on his 
journey. We shall provide lodgings for his master.' I foresaw 
danger to Lord Douglas, but I durst not attempt to warn him ; and to 
secure my charge, which a return to the room might have hazarded, I 
hastened into the court-yard, and being permitted to mount my horse, 
set off at full speed. 

"On arriving at this place, I remembered that secret closet, and 
carefully deposited the box within it. A week passed without any 
tidings of Lord Douglas. At last a pilgrim appeared at the gate, 
and requested to see me alone; fearing nothing from a man in so 
sacred a habit, I admitted him. Presenting me with a packet which 
had been intrusted to him by Lord Douglas, he told me my patron 
had been forcibly carried on board a vessel at Montrose, to be con- 
veyed with the unhappy Baliol to the Tower of London. Douglas, on 
this outrage, sent to the monastery at Aberbrothick, and under the 
pretense of making a religious confession before he sailed, begged a 
visit from the subprior. 'I am that prior,' continued the pilgrim; 'and 
having been born on the Douglas lands, he well knew the claim he had 
on my fidelity. Pie gave me this packet, and conjured me to lose no 
time in conveying it to you. The task was difficult; and, as in these 
calamitous seasons we hardty know whom to trust, I determined to 
execute it myself.' 

"I inquired whether Lord Douglas had actually sailed. 'Yes,' 
replied the father; 'I stood on the beach till the ship disap- 
peared.' " 

A half-stifled groan burst from the indignant breast of Wallace. 
It interrupted Monteith for an instant, but without noticing it, he 

"Not only the brave Douglas was then wrested from his country, 


with our king, but also that holy pillar of Jacob,* which prophets have 
declared to be the palladium of Scotland." 

"What!" inquired Wallace, with a yet darker frown, "has Baliol 
robbed Scotland of that trophy of one of her best kings? Is the sacred 
gift of Fergus to be made the spoil of a coward?" 

"Baliol is not the robber," rejoined jNIonteith: "the hallowed pillar 
was taken from Scone by the command of the King of England, and 
with the sackings of lona was carried on board the same vessel wdth 
the betrayed Douglas. The archives of the kingdom have also been 
torn from their sanctuary, and were thrown by Edward's own hands 
into the fire." 

"His depredations," continued Monteith, "the good monk told me, 
have been wide as destructive. He has not left a parchment, either 
of public records or of private annals, in any of the monasteries or 
castles around Montrose ; all have been searched and plundered. And, 
besides, the faithless Earl of JNIarch and Lord Soulis have performed 
the like robberies, in his name, from the eastern shores of the High- 
lands to the farthest of the Western Isles." 

"Do the traitors think," cried Wallace, "that by robbing Scotland 
of her annals and of that stone they really deprive her of her pal- 
ladium? Scotland's history is in the memories of her sons; her 
palladium is in their hearts; and Edward may one day find that she 
needs not talismans to give her freedom." 

"Alas! not in our time," answered Monteith. "The spear is at our 
breasts, and we must submit. You see this castle is full of Edward's 
soldiers. Every house is a garrison for England, — but I have yet to 
tell you the contents of the packet which the monk brought. It con- 
tained two others. One directed to Sir James Douglas at Paris, and 
the other to me. I read as follows : 

" 'Athol has persuaded Baliol to his ruin, and betrayed me into the hands of 
Edward. I shall see Scotland no more. Send the enclosed to my son at Paris; it 
will inform him what is the last wish of William Douglas for his country. The iron 
box I confided to you g;uard as your life, until you can deposit it with my son. 
But should he remain abroad, and you ever be in extremity, commit the box in 
strict charge to the worthiest Scot you know; and tell him that it will be at the 
peril of his soul, rvho dares to open it, till Scotland be again free! When that hour 

* The tradition respecting this stone is as follows: Hiber, or Iber, the Phoenician, who 
came from the Holy Land, to inhabit the coast of Spain, brought this sacred relic along with 
him. From Spain he transplanted it with the colony he sent to people the south of Ireland; 
and from Ireland it was brought into Scotland by the great Fergus, the son of Ferchard. He 
placed it in Argjdeshire; but MacAIpine removed it to Scone, and fixed it in the royal chair 
in which all the succeeding kings of Scotland were inaugurated. Edward I. of England 
caused it to be carried to Westminster Abbey, where it now stands. The tradition is, that 
empire abides where it stays. — (1809.) 


comes, then let the man by whose valor God restores her rights, receive the box 
as his own; for by him only is it to be opened. Douglas.' " 

Monteith finished reading the letter, and remained silent. Vv^al- 
lace, who had listened to it with increasing indignation, spoke first: 
"Tell me in what I can assist you, or how serve these last wishes of 
the imprisoned Douglas." 

Monteith replied by reading over again this sentence, " 'Should 
my son remain abroad, and you ever be in extremity, commit the box 
in strict charge to the worthiest Scot you know.' I am in that ex- 
tremity now. Edward determined on desolation when he placed 
English governors throughout our towns; and the rapacious Hesel- 
rigge, his representative in Lanark, has just issued an order for the 
houses of all the absent chiefs to be searched for secret correspond- 
ences. Two or three in the neighborhood have already gone through 
this ordeal; but the event has proved that it was not papers they 
sought, but plunder, and an excuse for dismantling the castles, or 
occupying them with English officers. 

"The soldiers you saw were sent, by daybreak this morning, to 
guard this castle until Heselrigge could in person be present at the 
examination. This ceremony is to take place to-morrow ; and as Lord 
Douglas is considered a traitor to Edward, I am told the place will 
be sacked to its walls. In such an extremity, to you, noble Wallace, as 
to the worthiest Scot I know, I apply to take charge of this box. 
Within the remote cliffs of Ellerslie it must be safe ; and when James 
Douglas arrives from Paris, to him you will resign it. Meanwhile, as 
I cannot resist the plunderers, after delivering the keys of the state 
apartments to Heselrigge to-morrow, I shall submit to necessity, and 
beg his permission to retire to my lodge on Ben Venu." 

Wallace made no difficulty in granting JNIonteith's request; and, 
there being two iron rings on each side of his charge, the young chief 
took off his leathern belt, and putting it through them, swung the box 
easily under his left arm, while covering it with his plaid. 

Monteith's eyes now brightened, the paleness left his cheek, and 
with a firmer step, as if suddenly relieved of a heavy load, he called 
a servant to prepare Sir William Wallace's attendants. 

While Wallace shook him by the hand, Monteith, in a solemn 
voice, exhorted him to caution respecting the box. "Remember," 
added he, "the penalty that hangs over him who looks into it." 

"Be not afraid," answered Wallace; "even the outside shall never 
be seen by other eyes than my own, unless the same circumstance 
which now induces you, mortal extremity, should force me to confide 
it to safer hands." 


"Beware of that!" exclaimed Monteith; "for who is there that 
would adhere to the prohibition as I have done — as you will do? and 
besides, as I have no doubt it contains holy relics, who knows what new 
calamities a sacrilegious look might bring upon our already devoted 

"Relics or no relics," replied Wallace, "it would be an equal sin 
against good faith to invade what is forbidden; but from the weight 
I am rather inclined to suspect it contains gold, probably a treasure 
with which the sordid Baliol thinks to compensate the hero who may 
free his country for all the miseries a traitor king and a treacherous 
usurper have brought upon it." 

"A treasure," repeated Monteith; "I never thought of that; it is 
indeed heavy; and as we are responsible for the contents of the box, I 
wish we were certain of what it contains; let us consider that." 

"It is no consideration of ours," returned Wallace. "All we have 
to do is to preserve the contents unviolated ; and to that I pledge my- 
self, — farewell!" 

"But why this haste?" rejoined Monteith; "indeed, I wish I had 
thought — stay only a little." 

"I thank you," returned Wallace, proceeding to the court-yard; 
"but it is now dark, and I promised to be at home before the moon 
rises. If you wish me to serve you further, I shall be happy to see you 
at Ellerslie to-morrow. ^ly Marion will have pleasure in entertaining 
the friend of her husband." 

While Wallace spoke he advanced to his horse, to which he was 
lighted by the servants of the castle. A few English soldiers lingered 
about in idle curiosity. As he put his foot in the stirrup, he held the 
sword in his hand, which he had unbuckled from his side to leave space 
for his charge. Monteith, whose dread of detection was ever awake, 
whispered, "Your loosened weapon may excite suspicion." Fear 
incurred what it sought to avoid. He hastily pulled aside Wallace's 
plaid to throw it over the glittering hilt of the sword, and thus exposed 
the iron box. The light of the torches striking upon the polished 
rivets, displayed it to all lookers-on, but no remark was made. Wal- 
lace, not observing what was done, again shook hands with Monteith, 
and calling his servants about him galloped away. A murmur was 
heard, as if of some intention to follow him; but deeming it prudent 
to leave the open and direct road, because of the English marauders 
who swarmed there, he was presently lost amid the thick shades of 



The darkness was almost impenetrable. Musing on what had passed 
with Monteith, Wallace rode on, till, crossing the bridge at Lanark, 
he saw the rising moon, and then his meditations embraced a gentler 
subject. This was the time he had promised Marion he should be 
returned, and he had yet five long miles to go before he could reach 
the glen of Ellerslie. He thought of her watching, with an anxious 
heart, the minutes of his delay. Scotland and its wrongs he now for- 
got in the idea of her whose happiness was dearer than life. He could 
not achieve the deliverance of the one, but it was his bliss to preserve 
the peace of the other; and putting spurs to his horse, he hastened 
through the town. 

Abruptly turning an angle leading to the Mouse river, a cry of 
murder arrested his ear. He checked his horse and listened. The 
clashing of arms told him the sound had issued from an alley to the 
left. He ahghted in an instant, and drawing his sword, threw away 
the scabbard; then, leaving his horse with one of his servants, hastened, 
with the other three, to the spot whence the noise proceeded. 

On arriving, he discovered two men in tartans, with their backs to 
the opposite wall, furiously assaulted by a throng of Edward's sol- 
diers. At this sight, the Scots who accompanied Wallace were so 
enraged that, blowing their bugles to encourage the assailed, they 
joined hand to hand with their gallant leader, and attacking the 
banditti, each man cut his opponent to the ground. 

Such unexpected assistance reanimated the drooping strength of 
one of the two, from whom the cry had issued. He sprang from the 
wall with the vigor of a tiger, but at the moment received a wound in 
his back, which would have thrown him at the feet of his enemies had 
not Wallace caught him in his left arm, and with his right cleared 
the way, while he cried to his men who were fighting near him, "To 
the glen!" As he spoke, he threw the now insensible stranger into 
their arms. The other man, whose voice had first attracted Wallace, 
at that instant sunk, covered with blood, on the pavement. 

Two of the servants, obeying their master, carried their senseless 
burden towards the horses; but the third, being hemmed in by the 



furious soldiers, could not move. Wallace made a passage to his 
rescue, and effected it; but one base wretch, while the now wounded 
Scot was retreating, made a stroke which would have severed his head 
from his body, had not the trusty claymore of Wallace struck down 
the weapon of the coward, and received his body upon its point. He 
fell with bitter imprecations, calling aloud for vengeance. 
I A dreadful cry was now raised by the whole band of assassins: 
"Murder! treason! Arthur Heselrigge is slain!" The uproar became 
general. The windows of the adjoining houses were thrown open; 
people issued from their doors, and pressed forward to inquire the 
cause of the alarm. Wallace was nearly overpowered; a hundred 
swords flashed in the torchlight ; but at the moment he expected they 
would be sheathed in his heart, the earth gave way under his feet, and 
he sank into utter darkness. 

He fell upon a quantity of gathered broom; and concluding that 
the weight of the multitude had burst his way through the arch of a 
cellar, he sprang on his feet: and though he heard the curses of several 
wretches, who had fallen with him and fared worse, he made but one 
step to a half-opened door, pointed out to him by a gleam from an 
inner passage. The men uttered a shout as they saw him darken the 
light which glimmered through it, but they were incapable of pursuit ; 
and Wallace, aware of his danger, darting across the adjoining apart- 
ment, burst open a window, and leaped out at the foot of the Lanark 

He pursued his way over the craigs, through the valley, and across 
the river, to the cliffs which embattle the garden of Ellerslie. Spring- 
ing on the projecting point of the nearest, he leaped into a thicket of 
honeysuckles. This was the favorite bower of his Marion. The soft 
perfume as it saluted his senses seemed to breathe peace and safety, 
and he walked with a calmer step towards the house. He approached 
a door which led into the garden. It was open. He beheld his beloved 
leaning over a couch, on which was laid the person he had rescued. 
Halbert was dressing his wounds. 

Wallace paused for a moment, to contemplate his lovely wife in 
this more lovely act of charity. Her beautiful hands held a cup to the 
lips of the stranger; while her long hair, escaped from its band, fell 
in jetty ringlets, and mingled with his silver locks. 

"Marion!" exclaimed her husband. She looked up at the well- 
known sound, and with a cry of joy, rushing forward, threw herself 
into his arms : her tears flowed, she clung to his breast. It was the first 
time Wallace had been from her ; she had feared it would hcive been 
the last. 


"Art thou indeed here?" exclaimed she. Blood fell from his fore- 
head upon her face and bosom. "O my Wallace!" cried she, in agony. 

"Fear not, my love! all is well, since our wounded countryman is 

"But you bleed," returned she. No tears now impeded her voice, 
and she felt as if she expected his life-blood to issue from the wound on 
which she gazed. 

"I hope my preserver is not hurt?" inquired the stranger. 

"Oh, no!" replied Wallace, putting back the hair from his fore- 
head; "a mere trifle." That the action had discovered the gash to be 
wider than he thought, he saw in the countenance of his wife. She 
turned deadly pale. "Marion," said he, "to convince you how cause- 
less your fears are, you shall cure me yourself, and with no other 
surgery than yoiu* girdle." 

When Lady Wallace heard his gay tone, she took courage; and, 
remembering the deep wounds of the stranger, which she had assisted 
to dress, she began to hope that she need not now fear for the object 
dearest to her in existence. Rising from her husband's arms, with a 
languid smile she unbound the hnen fillet from her waist ; and Halbert 
having poured some balsam into the wound, she prepared to apply the 
bandage; but when she lifted her husband's hair from his temple, — 
that hair which had so often been the object of her admiration, as it 
hung in shining masses over his arching brows, — when the clotted 
blood met her fingers, a mist seemed to pass over her sight: she paused 
for a moment ; but rallying her strength, as the cheerful sound of his 
voice conversing with his guest assured her, she tied the fillet, and 
seated herself, yet trembling, by his side. 

"Gallant Wallace!" cried the stranger, "it is Donald, Earl of Mar, 
who owes his life to you." 

"Then blest be my arm," exclaimed Wallace, "that has preserved 
a life so precious to mj?" country!" 

"May it indeed be blest!" cried Lord Mar; "for this night it has 
made the Southrons feel there is yet one man in Scotland who does not 
fear to resist oppression and to punish treachery." 

"What treachery?" inquired Lady Wallace, her spirit still hover- 
ing about her soul's far dearer part: "is any meant to my husband?" 

"None to Sir William Wallace, more than to any other brave 
Scot," replied the earl ; "but we all see the oppression of our country, 
we all know the treachery by which it was subjugated, and this night, 
in my own person, I have felt the effects of both. The English at 
Lanark despatched a body of men to Bothwell castle on a plea, that 
as its lord is yet absent, they presume he is adverse to Edward, and 


therefore they must search his dweUing for documents to settle the 
point. Considering myself the representative of my brother-in-law, 
Lord Bothwell, and suspecting that this might be only a marauding 
party, I refused to admit the soldiers; and saw them depart, swearing 
to return the next day with a stronger force, and storm the castle. 
To be ascertained of their commission, and to appeal against such 
tyranny, should it be true, I followed the detachment to Lanark. 

"I saw Heselrigge, the governor. He avowed the transaction, 
but consented to spare Bothwell while I and my family remain in it. 
It being nearly dark, I took my leave, and was proceeding towards 
my servants in the court-yard when a young man accosted me. I 
recognized him to be the officer who had commanded the party I had 
driven from the castle. Heselrigge having told me that he was his 
nephew, I made no hesitation to go back with him, when he informed 
me his uncle had forgotten something of importance, and begged me 
to return. I followed his steps ; but instead of conducting me to the 
room in which I had conversed with Heselrigge, he led me into a small 
apartment, where, telling me his uncle would attend me, he suddenly 
retreated out of the door, and before I could recollect myself I heard 
him bolt it after him. 

"I now saw myself a prisoner; and alarmed at what might be 
intended to my family, I made every essay to force the door, but it 
was in vain. Driven to despair, I remained in a state of mind not to 
be described, when the bolt was undrawn, and two men entered, with 
manacles in their hands. They attempted to seize me, telling me I 
was the prisoner of King Edward. I did not listen further, but 
wounding one with my dagger, felled the other to the ground, and 
made my way to a street leading from behind the governor's house. I 
ran against some one as I rushed from the portal; it was my servant 
Neil. I hastily told him to draw his sword and follow me. We then 
hurried forward, he telling me he had stepped out to observe the night, 
while the rest of my men were wondering at my dela5^ 

"Fearing the worst of consequences from the treachery of Hesel- 
rigge, I was hastening onward to the protection of my family, when, 
at the turning of an angle which leads to the Bothwell road we were 
suddenly surrounded by armed men. The moon shone full on their 
faces, and I discovered they were Southrons, and that young Hesel- 
rigge was at their head. 

"He aimed a blow at my head with his battle-ax, and in a voice of 
triumph exclaimed to his soldiers, 'The plunder of Bothwell, my lads! 
Down with its lord! all but the lady Helen shall be yours!' 

"In a moment every sword was directed towards me. They 


wounded me in several places; but the thought of my daughter gave 
vigor to my arm, and I defended myself till the cries of my servant 
brought you to my rescue. But, while I am safe, perhaps my treach- 
erous pursuer has marched towards Bothwell; there are none to guard 
my child but a few domestics, the unpractised sword of my stripling 
nephew, and the feeble arms of my wife." 

"Be easy on that head," interrupted Wallace; "I believe the in- 
famous leader of the banditti fell by my hand, for the soldiers made 
an outcry that Arthur Heselrigge was killed; and then pressing on 
me to take revenge, their weight broke a passage into a vault, through 
which I escaped " 

"Save, save yourself, my master!" cried a man rushing in from 
the garden. "You are pursued " 

While he spoke he fell insensible at Wallace's feet. It was 
Dugald, whom he had rescued from the blow of Heselrigge, and who, 
from the state of his wound, had been thus long in reaching Ellerslie. 

Wallace had hardly time to give him to the care of Halbert when 
the voice of war assailed his ears. The tumult of men demanding 
admittance, and the sound of spears rattling against the shields of 
their owners, told the astonished group within that the house was 
beset by armed foes. 

"Blood for blood!" cried a horrid voice, which penetrated the 
almost palsied senses of Lady Marion. "Vengeance on Wallace for 
the murder of Heselrigge!" 

"Fly, fly!" cried she, looking wildly at her husband. 

"Whither?" answered he, supporting her in his arms. "Would 
this be a moment to leave you and our wounded guest? I must meet 

"Not now," cried Lord Mar. "Hear you not how numerous thej'- 
are? Mark that shout; they thirst for blood. If you have pity for 
your wife, delay not a moment!" 

The uproar redoubled, and the room was instantly filled with 
shrieking women, the attendants of Lady Wallace. 

"O my lord!" cried the terrified creatures, wringing their hands, 
"what will become of us! The Southrons are at the gates, and 
we shall be lost forever." 

*'Fear not," replied Wallace ; "retire to your chambers. I am the 
person they seek: none else will meet with injury." 

Appeased by this assurance, the women retreated to their apart- 
ments; and Wallace, turning to the earl, who continued to enforce 
the necessity of his flight, repeated that he would not consent to leave 
his wife in such a tumult. 


"Leave me," cried she, in an inarticulate voice, "or see me die." 

As she spoke, there was a violent crash and a burst of imprecations. 
Three of Wallace's men ran panting into the room. Two of the 
assailants had climbed to the hall window, and had just been thrown 
back upon the cliffs, where one was killed. "Conceal yourself," said 
the Scots to Wallace, "for in a few minutes more your men will not 
be able to maintain the gates." 

"Yes, my dear lord," cried Halbert, "there is the dry well at the 
end of the garden; at the bottom of that you will be safe." 

"By your love for me, Wallace, barken to him!" cried Lady 
Marion, falling at his feet. "I kneel for my life in kneeling for yours. 
Pity the gray hairs of Sir Ronald, whom your untimely death would 
bring to the grave. Fly, Wallace, if you would have me live!" 

"Angel of my life!" exclaimed Wallace, straining her to his heart, 
"I obey thee. But if the hand of one of these desperate robbers dares 
to touch thy hallowed person " 

"Think not so, my lord," interrupted Halbert; "it is you they seek. 
Not finding you, they will be too eager in pursuit to molest your lady." 

"I shall be safe," whispered Marion; "only fly — while you are here, 
their shouts kill me." 

"But thou shalt go with me," returned he; "the well will contain 
us all. But first let our faithful Halbert and these honest fellows 
lower Lord Mar into the place of refuge. He being the cause of the 
affray, if discovered, would be immediately sacrificed." 

Lord Mar acquiesced; and while the contention was so loud with- 
out as to threaten the tearing down of the walls, the earl was carried 
into the garden. He was followed by Sir William Wallace, to whose 
arm his wife yet fondly clung. 

At the well-side they found the earl bound with the rope that was 
to lower him to the bottom. By great care it was safely done; and 
the cord being brought up again, before it was tied round Wallace 
he recollected that the iron box at his side might hurt the wounded 
nobleman by striking him in his descent; and, unbuckling it, he said 
it contained matters of great value, and ordered it to be lowered first. 

Lord Mar, beneath, was releasing it from the rope when a shout of 
triumph pierced their ears. A party of the English, having come 
round the heights, had leaped the wall of the garden, and were within 
a few yards of the well. For Wallace to descend now was impossible. 
"That tree!" whispered Marion, pointing to an oak near which they 
stood. As she spoke, she slid from his arms, and, along with the 
venerable Halbert, who had seized her hand, disappeared amid the 
adjoining thicket. The two servants fled also. 


Wallace, finding himself alone, the next instant, like one of his 
native eagles, was looking down from the towering top of the wood 
upon his enemies. They passed beneath him, denouncing vengeance 
upon the assassin of Arthur Heselrigge. One, who by the brightness 
of his armor seemed to be their leader, stopped under the tree, and 
complained he had so sprained his ankle in leaping the wall, he must 
wait a few minutes to recover himself. Several soldiers drew towards 
him; but he ordered them to pursue their duty, search the house, and 
bring Wallace, dead or alive, before him. 

They obeyed ; but others, who had gained admittance to the tower 
through the now forced gates, soon ran to him with information that 
the murderer could nowhere be found. 

"But here is a gay ladie," cried one; "perhaps she can tell of his 
hiding-place." And at that moment Marion, with Halbert, appeared 
amongst a band of men. The lighted torches which the soldiers held 
shone full on her face. Though pale as marble, the beauty of her 
features and the calm dignity which commanded from her eyes awed 
the officer into respect and admiration. 

"Soldiers, stand back!" cried he, advancing to Lady Wallace. 
"Fear not, madam." As the words passed his lips a flight of arrows 
flew into the bosom of the tree. A piercing shriek from Marion was 
her only answer. "Hah! my lady's falcon!" cried Halbert, alarmed, 
doubly, for the fate of his master. A sudden agitation of the branches 
having excited suspicion in a body of archers who stood near, with 
one impulse they had discharged their arrows to the spot. Halbert's 
ready excuse, both for the disturbance in the tree and his lady's shriek, 
was warranted true by the appearance of a large bird, which the rush- 
ing of the arrows had frighted from her nest : she rose suddenly from 
amongst the branches, and soared away with loud screams. 

All being again still, IMarion hoped that her husband had escaped 
any serious injury from the arrows; and turning with recovered com- 
posure to the officer, heard him reprimand his men for daring to draw 
their bows without his orders. Then addressing her, "I beg your par- 
don, madam," said he, "both for the alarm these hot-headed men have 
occasioned you, and for the violence they have committed in forcing 
one of your sex and beauty before me. Had I expected to have found 
a lady here, I should have issued orders to have prevented this out- 
rage; but I am sent hither in quest of Sir William Wallace, who by 
a mortal attack made on the person of the Governor of Lanark's 
nephew, has forfeited his life. The scabbard of his sword, fovmd be- 
side the murdered Heselrigge, is an undeniable proof of his guilt. 


Direct us to find him, and not only release, but the favor of the 
English monarch will await your allegiance." 

"I am Sir William Wallace's wife," returned the gentle Marion, 
in a firm tone; "and by what authority you seek him thus, and presume 
to call him guilty, I cannot understand." 

"By the authority of the laws, madam, which he has violated." 

"What laws?" rejoined she; "Sir William Wallace acknowledges 
none but those of God and his country. Neither of these has he 

The officer replied, "This night he assassinated Arthur Heselrigge 
in the streets of Lanark, and that condemns him, by the last declara- 
tion of King Edward : Whatever Scot maltreats any one of the Eng- 
lish soldiers, or civil officers, garrisoned in the towns of Scotland, shall 
thereby forfeit his life as the penalty of his crime." 

"A tyrant's law, sir, to which no freeborn Scot will submit. But 
even were it allowed by my countrymen, in this case it can have no 
hold on my husband. That he is a Scot, he glories; and not that he 
maltreated any Englishman in the streets of Lanark, do I glory, but 
because, when he saw two defenseless men borne down by a band of 
armed soldiers, he exposed his unshielded breast in their defense. 
That the governor's nephew also fell was a retribution for his heading 
so unequal a contest, and no crime in Sir William Wallace; for he 
slew him to preserve a feeble old man, who had a hundred English 
swords leveled at his life." 

The officer paused for a moment, and then ordered his soldiers 
to fall farther back ; when they were at a sufficient distance, he offered 
to take Lady Wallace's hand. She withstood his motion with a re- 
served air, and said, "Speak, sir, what you would say, or allow me to 

"I mean not to offend you, noble lady," continued he; "had I a 
wife lovely as yourself, and I in like circumstances, I hope in the 
like manner she would defend my life and honor. I knew not the 
particulars of the affair in which Arthur Heselrigge fell till I heard 
them from your lips. I can easily credit them, for I know his unmanly 
character. Wallace is a Scot, and acted in Scotland as Gilbert Ham- 
bledon would have done in England. Wherever you have concealed 
your husband, let it be a distant asylum. At present no track within 
the jurisdiction of Lanark will be left unsearched by the governor's 

Lady Wallace, overcome with gratitude at this generous speech 
of the English officer, uttered some words indicating her grateful 
feelings. Hambledon continued: "I will use my influence with 


Heselrigge to prevent your house being disturbed again ; but it being 
in the course of military operations, I cannot free you from the dis- 
agreeable ceremony of a guard being placed to-morrow round the 
domains. This I know will be done to intercept Sir William Wallace, 
should he attempt to return." 

"Oh that he were indeed far distant!" thought the anxious Marion. 
The officer then added: "However, you shall be relieved of my 
detachment directly." And as he spoke he waved his sword to them 
who had seized the harper. They advanced, still holding their pris- 
oner. He ordered them to commit the man to him, and to sound. The 
trumpeter obeyed, and in a few seconds the whole detachment were 
assembled before their commander. 

"Soldiers," cried he, "Sir William Wallace has escaped our hands. 
Mount your horses, that we may return to Lanark, and search the 
other side of the town. Lead forth, and I will follow." 

The troops obeyed, and falling back through the opened gates, left 
Sir Gilbert Hambledon alone with Lady Wallace and the wondering 
Halbert. The brave young man took the hand of the grateful 
Marion, who had stood trembling while so many of her husband's 
enemies were assembled under the place of his concealment. 

"Noble Englishman," said she, as the last body of soldiers passed 
from her sight, "I cannot enough thank you for this generous conduct; 
but should you or yours be ever in the like extremity with my beloved 
Wallace, may the ear which has heard you this night, at that hour 
repay my gi'atitude !" 

"Sweet lady," answered Hambledon, "I thank you for your 
prayer. Though I serve my king and obey my commanders, yet it is 
only to the Lord of battles that I look for a sure reward, and whether 
he pay me here with victories and honors, or take my soul through a 
rent in my breast to receive my laurel in paradise, it is all one to 
Gilbert Hambledon. But the night is cold: I must see you safe within 
your own doors, and then, lady, farewell!" 

Lady Wallace yielded, and with redoubled haste, as she heard 
another rustling in the tree above her head. Hambledon did not 
notice it, but desiring Halbert to follow, in a few minutes disappeared 
with the agitated Marion into the house. 

Wallace, whose spirit could ill brook the sight of his domains filled 
with hostile troops, and his wife brought a prisoner before their com- 
mander, would have braved all dangers and have leaped down amongst 
them; but at the instant he placed his foot on a lower bough to make 
a spring, the courteous address of Hambledon to his wife had made 
him hesitate. He listened to the replies of his Marion with exultation; 


and when the Englishman ordered his men to withdraw, Wallace 
could hardly prevent a confidence in such virtue from compelling him 
to come from his concealment and thank his noble enemy on the spot. 
But a consideration that this disclosure would put the military duty 
and the generous nature of the officer at variance, he desisted with such 
an agitation of spirits that the boughs had again shaken under him, 
and reawakened the alarm of his trembling wife. 

"Sir William! my master!" cried Halbert's voice at this moment, 
in a suppressed tone. "Speak, my dear lord; are you safe?" 

"In heart and body," returned Wallace, sliding from the tree and 
leaping on the ground. "One only of the arrows touched me, and that 
merely striking my bugle, fell back amongst the leaves. I must now 
hasten to the dearest, the noblest of women." 

Halbert begged him to stay till they should hear 'the retreat from 
the English trumpets. "Till their troops are out of sight," added he, 
"I cannot believe you safe." 

"Hark!" cried Wallace, "the horses are now descending the craig. 
That must satisfy you, honest Halbert." With these words he flew 
across the grass, and entering the house, met the returning Marion, 
who had just bade farewell to Hambledon. She rushed into his arms, 
and with excess of joy fainted on his neck. What had been the shock 
of this evening's violence! Her husband pursued as a murderer; her- 
self exposed to the midnight air, and dragged by the hands of merci- 
less soldiers to betray the man she loved. All these scenes were new 
to her; and though a preternatural strength had supported her 
through them, yet when the cause of exertion was over, when she fell 
once more into her husband's arms, she seemed to have found the 
pillow whereon her soul might repose. 

"My life! preserver of thy Wallace! look on him!" exclaimed he; 
"bless him with a smile from those dear eyes." 

His voice soon restored her to sensibility and recollection. She 
wept on his breast, and thanked Heaven that he had escaped the search 
and the arrows of his enemies. 

"But, my dear lady," interrupted Halbert, "remember my master 
must not stay here. You know the English commander said he must 
fly far away. Nay, spies may even now be lurking to betray him." 

"You are right," cried she. "My Wallace, you must depart. 
Should the guard arrive soon, your flight may be prevented. You 
must go now — but, oh! whither?" 

"Not very distant, my love. In going from thee I leave behind 
all that makes life precious to me; how then can I go far away? No; 
there are recesses among the Cartlane craigs I discovered while hunt- 


ing, and which I beheve have been visited by no mortal foot but my 
own. There will I be, my Marion, before sunrise; and before it sets, 
thither must you send Halbert, to tell me how you fare. Three notes 
from thine own sweet strains of Thiisa ha measg na reultan mor 
('Thou who art amid the stars, move to thy bed with music'), blown 
by his pipe, shall be a sign to me that he is there, and I will come forth 
to hear tidings of thee," 

"Ah, my Wallace, let me go with thee!" 

"What, dearest!" returned he, "to live amidst rocks and streams! 
to expose thy tender self to all the accidents of such a lodging!" 

"But are not you going to so dangerous a lodging?" asked she. 
"Oh! would not rocks and streams be paradise to me, when blessed 
with the presence of my husband? Ah, let me go!" 

"Impossible, my lady," cried Halbert, afraid that his master would 
consent, "you are safe here, and your flight would awaken suspicion 
in the English that he had not gone far. Your ease and safety are 
dearer to him than his own life; and most likely by his cares to pre- 
serve them he would be traced, and so fall a ready sacrifice to the 

"It is true, my Marion; I could not preserve you in the places to 
which I go." 

"But the hardships you will endure!" cried she; "to sleep on the 
cold stones, with no covering but the sky or the dripping vault of some 
dreary cave." 

"Cease, my beloved," interrupted he. "Neither rocks nor storms 
have any threats to me. Before I was thine, my Marion, I have lain 
whole nights upon the mountain's brow, counting the wintry stars, as 
I awaited the hunter's horn that was to recall me to the chase in Glen- 
finlass. Alike to Wallace is the couch of down or the bed of heather ; 
so, best beloved of my heart, grieve not at hardships which were once 
my sport, and will now be my safety." 

"Then farewell! May angels guard thee!" Her voice failed; she 
put his hand to her lips. 

"Courage, my Marion," said he; "remember that Wallace lives 
but in thee. Revive, be happy for my sake, and God, who putteth 
down the oppressor, will restore me to thine arms." She spoke not, 
but rising from his breast clasped her hands together, and looked up 
with an expression of fervent prayer ; then she waved her hand to him 
to depart, and disappeared into her own chamber. 

Wallace gazed at the closed door, with his soul in his eyes. To 
leave his Marion thus, to quit her who was the best part of his being, 
was almost too powerful for his resolution. Here indeed his brave 


spirit gave way; and he would have followed her, had not Halbert, 
reading his mind, taken him by the arm and drawn him towards 
the portal. 

Wallace soon recovered his reason, and obeying the friendly im- 
pulse of his servant, accompanied him through the garden to the 
quarter which led to the remotest recesses of the Clj^de. In their way 
they approached the well where Lord INIar lay. Finding that the earl 
had not been inquired for, Wallace deemed his stay to be without 
peril ; and intending to inform him of the necessity which still impellipd 
his own flight, he called to him, but no voice answered. He looked 
down, and seeing him extended on the bottom, without motion, "I 
fear," said he, "the earl is dead. As soon as I am gone, and you can 
collect the servants, send one into the well to bring him forth ; and if 
he be indeed no more, deposit his body in my oratory, till you can 
receive his widow's commands respecting his remains. The iron box 
now in the well is of inestimable value : take it to Lady Wallace, and 
tell her she must guard it as she has done my life ; but not to look into 
it, at the peril of what is yet dearer to her, — my honor." 

Halbert promised to adhere to his master's orders; and Wallace, 
girdling on his sword, and taking his hunting-spear, he pressed the 
faithful hand that presented it, and again enjoining him to be watch- 
ful of his lady, and to send him tidings of her in the evening, to the 
cave near the Corie Lynn, he climbed the wall, and was out of sight in 
an instant. 



Halbert returned to the house, and entering the room softly, into 
which Marion had withdrawn, beheld her on her knees before a cru- 
cifix : she was praying for the safety of her husband. 

"May he, O gracious Lord!" cried she, "soon return to his home. 
But if I am to see him here no more, may it please Thee to grant me 
to meet him within Thy arms in Heaven!" 

"Hear her, blessed Son of Mary!" ejaculated the old man. She 
looked round, and rising from her knees, demanded of him, in an 
anxious voice, whether he had left her lord in security. 

"In the way to it, my lady," answered Halbert. He repeated all 
that Wallace had said at parting, and then tried to prevail on her to 
go to rest. "Sleep cannot visit my eyes this night, my faithful crea- 
ture," replied she; "my spirit will follow AVallace in his mountain 
flight. Go you to your chamber. After you have had repose, that 
will be time enough to revisit the remains of the poor earl, and to 
bring them with the box to the house. I will take a religious charge 
of both, for the sake of the dear intruster." 

Halbert persuaded his lady to lie down, and she, little suspecting 
that he meant to do otherwise than to sleep also, kindly wished him 
repose, and retired. 

Her maids, during the late terror, had dispersed, and were no- 
where to be found ; and the men too, after their stout resistance at the 
gates, had all disappeared — some fled, others were sent away pris- 
oners to Lanark, while the good Hambledon was conversing with their 
lady. Halbert therefore resigned himself to await with patience the 
rising of the sun, when he hoped some of the domestics would return; 
if not, he determined to go to the cotters in the glen and bring some 
of them to supply the place of the fugitives. 

Thus musing, he sat on a stone bench in the hall, watching 
anxiously the appearance of that orb whose setting beams he hoped 
would light him back with tidings of Sir William Wallace. The 
morning was yet gray, and the fresh air blowing in rather chilly, 
Halbert rose to close the wooden shutter; at that moment his eyes 
were arrested by a party of armed men in quick march down the 



opposite declivity. In a few minutes more their heavy steps sounded 
in his ears, and he saw the platform before the house filled with 
English. Alarmed at the sight, he was retreating across the apart- 
ment, towards his lady's room, when the great hall-door was burst 
open by a band of soldiers, who rushed forward and seized him. 

"Tell me, dotard!" cried their leader, a man of low stature, with 
gray locks but a fierce countenance, "where is the murderer? Where 
is Sir Wilham Wallace? Speak, or the torture shall force you!" 

Halbert shuddered, but it was for his defenseless lady, not for 
himself. "My master," said he, "is far from this." 


"I know not." 

"Thou shalt be made to know, thou hoary-headed villain!" cried 
the same violent interrogator. "Where is the assassin's wife? I will 
confront ye. Seek her out." 

At that word the soldiers parted right and left, and in a moment 
afterwards three of them appeared with shouts, bringing in the trem- 
bling Marion. 

"Alas, my lady!" cried Halbert, struggling to approach her, as 
with terror she looked around her ; but they held her fast, and he saw 
her led up to the merciless wretch who had given the orders to have 
her summoned. 

"Woman!" cried he, "I am the Governor of Lanark. You now 
stand before the representative of the great King Edward, and on 
your allegiance to him, and on the peril of your life, I command you 
to answer me three questions. Where is Sir William Wallace, the 
murderer of my nephew? Who is that old Scot for whom my nephew 
was slain? He and his whole family shall meet my vengeance! And 
tell me where is that box of treasure which your husband stole from 
Douglas castle? Answer me these questions on your life." 

Lady Wallace remained silent. 

"Speak, woman!" demanded the governor. "If fear cannot move 
you, know that I can reward as well as avenge. I will endow you 
richly, if you declare the truth. If you persist to refuse, you die." 

"Then I die," repHed she, scarcely opening her half-closed eyes, 
as she leaned, fainting, against the soldier who held her. 

"What!" cried the governor, stifling his rage, "can so gentle a lady 
reject the favor of England; large grants in this country, and perhaps 
a fine English knight for a husband, when you might have all for giv- 
ing up a traitor, and confessing where his robberies lie concealed? 
Speak, fair dame; give me this information, and the lands of the 
wounded chieftain whom Wallace brought here, with the hand of 


the handsome Sir Gilbert Hambledon, shall be your reward. Lady, 
can you now refuse to purchase all, by declaring the hiding-place of 
the traitor Wallace?" 

"It is easier to die." 

"Fool!" cried Heselrigge, driven from his assumed temper by her 
steady denial. "What! Is it easier for that beauteous head of thine 
to decorate my lance? Is this easier than to tell me where to find a 
murderer and his gold?" 

Lady Wallace shuddered : she stretched her hands to heaven. 

"Speak once for all!" cried the enraged governor, drawing his 
sword; "I am no waxen-hearted Hambledon, to be cajoled by your 
beauty. Declare where Wallace is concealed, or dread my vengeance." 

The horrid steel gleamed across the eyes of the unhappy Marion; 
unable to sustain herself, she sank on the ground. 

"Kneel not to me for mercy!" cried the fierce wretch; "I grant 
none, unless you confess your husband's hiding-place." 

Strength darted from the heart of Lady Wallace to her voice. "I 
kneel to Heaven alone, and may it ever preserve my Wallace from 
the fangs of Edward and his tyrants!" 

"Blasphemous wretch!" cried the infuriated Heselrigge, and in 
that moment he plunged his sword into her defenseless breast. Hal- 
bert, who had all this time been held back by the soldiers, could not 
believe that the fierce governor would perpetrate the deed he threat- 
ened ; but seeing it done, with a terrible cry he burst from the hands 
which held him, and had thrown himself on the bleeding Marion before 
her murderer could strike his second blow. However, it fell, and 
pierced the neck of the faithful servant before it reached her heart. 
She opened her dying eyes, and seeing who it was that would have 
shielded her life, just articulated, "Halbert! my Wallace — to God — " 
and with the last unfinished sentence her pure soul took its flight. 

The good old man's heart almost burst when he felt her bosom now 
motionless, and groaning with grief and fainting with loss of blood he 
lay senseless on her body. 

A terrible stillness was now in the hall. Not a man spoke, all 
stood looking on each other with horror marking each pale coun- 
tenance. Heselrigge, dropping his blood-stained sword on the ground, 
perceived by the behavior of his men that he had gone too far, and 
fearful of arousing them to some act against himself, he addressed 
the soldiers in an unusual accent of condescension: "My friends," 
said he, "we will now return to Lanark; to-morrow you may come 
back, for I reward your services of this night with the plunder of 


"May a curse light on him who carries a stick from its grounds!" 
exclaimed a veteran, from the further end of the hall. "Amen!" mur- 
mured all the soldiers with one consent ; and falling back, they disap- 
peared, one by one, out of the great door, leaving Heselrigge alone 
with the soldier who stood, leaning on his sword, looking on the 
murdered lady. 

"Grimsby, why stand you there?" demanded Heselrigge: "fol- 
low me!" 

"Never," returned the soldier. 

"What!" exclaimed the governor, forgetting his panic; "dare you 
speak thus to your commander? jNIarch on before me this instant, or 
expect to be treated as a rebel!" 

"I march at your command no more," replied the veteran, eying 
him resolutely; "the moment you perpetrated this bloody deed you 
became unworthy the name of man, and I should disgrace my own 
manhood were I ever again to obey the word of such a monster!" 

"Villain!" cried the enraged Heselrigge, "you shall die for this!" 

"That may be," answered Grimsby, "by the hands of some tyrant 
like yourself; but no brave man, not the royal Edward, would do 
otherwise than acquit his soldier for refusing obedience to the mur- 
derer of an innocent woman. It was not so he treated the wives and 
(laughters of the slaughtered Saracens when I followed his banners 
over the fields of Palestine." 

"Thou canting miscreant!" cried Heselrigge, springing on him 
suddenly, and aiming his dagger at his breast. But the soldier 
arrested the weapon, and at the same instant closing upon the assassin, 
with a turn of his foot threw him to the ground. Heselrigge, as he lay 
prostrate, seeing his dagger in his adversary's hand, with the most 
dastardly promises im23lored for life. 

"Monster!" cried the soldier, "I would not pollute my honest hands 
^vith such unnatural blood. Neither, though thy hand has been lifted 
against my life, would I willingly take thine. I go far from you or 
your power ; but if you forswear your voluntary oath, and attempt to 
seek me out for vengeance, remember it is a soldier of the cross you 
pursue, and retribution shall be demanded by Heaven at a moment 
you cannot avoid." 

There was a determination in the voice and manner of the soldier 
that paralyzed the soul of the governor; he trembled, and repeating 
his oath of leaving Grimsby unmolested, at last obtained his permis- 
sion to return to Lanark. The men, in obedience to the orders of their 
commander, had mounted their horses, and were now far out of sight. 
Heselrigge's charger was still in the court-yard: he was hurrying 


towards it, hut the soldier, with a prudent suspicion, called out, "Stop, 
sir ! you must walk to Lanark. The cruel are gjenerally false : I cannot 
trust your word. Leave this horse here — ^to-morrow you may send 
for it, I shall then be far away." 

Heselrigge saw that remonstrance would be unavailing, and shak- 
ing with rage, he turned into the path which, after five weary miles, 
would lead him once more to his citadel. 

From the moment the soldier had dared to deliver his abhorrence 
of Lady Wallace's murder, he was aware that his life would no longer 
be safe within reach of Pleselrigge ; and determined alike by detesta- 
tion of him and regard for his own preservation, he resolved to take 
shelter in the mountains, till he could have an opportunity of going 
beyond sea to join his king's troops in the Guienne wars. 

Full of these thoughts he returned into the hall. As he approached 
the bleeding group on the floor he perceived it move; hoping that per- 
haps the unhappy lady might not be dead, he drew near; but, alas! as 
he bent to examine, he touched her hand and found it quite cold. 
Grimsby shuddered. Again he saw her move ; but it was not with her 
own life — the recovering senses of her faithful servant, as his arms 
clung around the body, had disturbed the remains of her who would 
wake no more. 

On seeing that existence yet struggled in one of these blameless 
victims, Grimsby did his utmost to revive the old man. He raised him 
from the ground, and poured some strong liquor into his mouth. Ilal- 
bert breathed freer ; and his kind surgeon, with the venerable harper's 
own plaid, bound up the wound in his neck. Halbert opened his eyes. 
When he fixed them on the rough features and English helmet of the 
^ioldier. he closed them again with a deep groan. 

"My honest Scot," said Grimsby, "trust in me. I am a man like 
yourself, and though a Southron, am no enemy to age and help- 

The harper took courage at these words; he again looked at the 
soldier, but suddenly recollecting what had passed, he turned his eyes 
towards the body of his mistress. He started up, and staggering 
towards her, would have fallen, had not Grimsby supported him. "Oh 
what a sight is this!" cried he, wringing his hands. "My lovely lady! 
see how low she lies, who was once the delight of all eyes, the comforter 
of all hearts." The old man's sobs suffocated him. The veteran 
turned away his face; a tear dropped upon his hand. "Accursed 
Heselrigge," ejaculated he, "thy fate must come!" 

"If there be a man's heart in all Scotland, it is not far distant!" 


cried Halbert. "My master lives, and will avenge this murder. You 
weep, soldier; and you will not betray what has escaped me." 

"I have fought in Palestine," returned he; "and a soldier of the 
cross betrays none who trust him. We must both hasten hence. Hesel- 
rigge will surely send in pursuit of me. He is too vile to forgive the 
truth I have spoken to him; and should I fall into his power, death 
is the best I could expect at his hands. Let me assist you to put this 
poor lady's remains into some decent place, and then, my honest Scot, 
we must separate." 

Halbert, at these words, threw himself upon the bosom of his mis- 
tress, and wept with loud lamentations. In vain he attempted to raise 
her in his feeble arms. "I have carried thee scores of times in thy 
blooming infancy," cried he; "and now must I bear thee to thy grave? 
I had hoped that my eyes would have been closed by this dear hand." 
As he spoke, he pressed her hand to his lips with such convulsive sobs 
that the soldier, fearing he would expire in his agony, took him from 
the dead body, and exhorted him to suppress such grief for the sake 
of his master. Halbert gradually revived, and listening to him, cast a 
wistful look on the lifeless Marion. 

"There sleeps the pride and hope of Ellerslie! O my master, my 
widowed master," cried he, "what will comfort thee?" 

Fearing the consequence of further delay, the soldier again began 
his arguments for flight ; and Halbert recollecting the oratory in which 
Wallace had ordered the body of Lord ]Mar to be deposited, named it 
for that of his dead lady. Grimsby, immediately wrapping the beau- 
teous corse in the white garments which hung about it, raised it in his 
arms, and was conducted by Halbert to a little chapel in the heart of 
a neighboring cliff. 

The old man removed the altar ; and Grimsby, laying the shrouded 
INIarion upon its rocky platform, covered her with the pall, which he 
drew from the holy table, and laid the crucifix upon her bosom. Hal- 
bert, when his beloved mistress was thus hidden from his sight, threw 
himself on his knees beside her, and offered up a prayer for her 
departed soul. 

"Hear me, Judge of heaven and earth!" cried he; "as thou didst 
avenge the blood of innocence shed in Bethlehem, so let the gray hairs 
of Heselrigge be brought down to the grave, for the murder of this 
innocent lady!" Halbert kissed the cross, and rising from his knees 
went weeping out of the chapel, followed by the soldier. 

Having closed the door and carefully locked it, Halbert proceeded 
in silence till he and his companion in passing the well were startled 
by a groan. 


"Here is some one in extremity," cried the soldier. "Is it possible 
he lives?" exclaimed Halbert, bending down to the edge of the v/cll 
with the same inquiry. "Yes," feebly answered the earl; "I still exist, 
but am very faint. If all be safe above, I pray remove me into the 
upward air." Halbert replied that it was indeed necessary he should 
ascend immediately, and lowering the rope, told him to tie the iron 
box to it and then himself. This done, with some difficulty and the 
assistance of the wondering soldier (who now expected to see the 
husband of the unfortunate Lady Wallace emerge to the knowledge 
of his loss), he at last effected the earl's release. For a few seconds 
the fainting nobleman supported himself on his countryman's shoul- 
der, while the morning breeze gradually revived his exhausted frame. 
The soldier looked at his gray locks and furrowed brow, and marveled 
how such proofs of age could belong to the man whose resistless valor 
had discomfited Arthur Heselrigge and his myrmidons. However, 
his doubts of the veteran before him being other than the brave Wal- 
lace were soon satisfied by the earl himself, who asked for a draught 
of water; and while Hafbert went to bring it. Lord JNIar raised his 
eyes to inquire for Sir William and the Lady Marion. He started 
when he saw English armor on the man he would have accosted, and 
rising suddenly from the stone on which he sat, demanded, in a stern 
voice, "Who art thou?" 

"An Englishman," answered the soldier; "one who does not, like 
the monster Heselrigge, disgrace the name. I would assist you, noble 
Wallace, to fly this spot. After that, I shall seek refuge abroad, and 
there, on the fields of Guienne, demonstrate my fidelity to my king." 

Mar looked at him steadily. "You mistake; I am not Sir WiUiam 

At that moment Halbert came up with the water. The earl drank 
it, and turning to the venerable bearer, he asked of him whether his 
master were safe. 

"I trust he is," replied the old man; "but you, my lord, must hasten 
hence. A foul murder has been committed here since he left it." 

"But where is Lady Wallace?" asked the earl; "if there be such 
danger we must not leave her to meet it." 

"She will never meet danger more," cried the old man clasping his 
hands; "she is in the bosom of the Virgin." 

"What!" exclaimed the earl, hardly articulate with horror, "is 
Lady Wallace murdered?" 

"Yes," said the soldier! "and detestation of so unmanly an outrage 
provoked me to desert his standard. But no time must now be lost 


in lamentation; Heselrigge will return, and if we also would not be 
sacrificed to his rage, we must hence immediately." 

The earl, struck dumb at this recital, gave the soldier time to 
recount the particulars. When he had finished, Lord IMar saw the 
necessity for instant flight, and ordered horses to be brought from the 
stables. Though he had fainted in the well, the present shock gave 
such tension to his nerves, that he found, in spite of his wound, he 
could now ride without difficulty. 

Halbert went as commanded, and returned with two horses. Hav- 
ing only amongst rocks and glens to go, he did not bring one for him- 
self ; and begging the good soldier might attend the earl to Both well, 
he added, "He will guard you and this box, which Sir William Wal- 
lace holds as his life. What it contains I know not, and none, he says, 
may dare to search into. But you will take care of it for his sake, till 
more peaceful times allow him to reclaim his own." 

"Fatal box!" cried the soldier, "that was the leading cause which 
brought Heselrigge to Ellerslie." 

"How?" inquired the earl. Grimsby then related that immediately 
after the return to Lanark of the detachment sent to Ellerslie, under 
the command of Sir Gilbert Hambledon, an officer arrived from the 
English garrison in Douglas, and told the governor that Sir William 
Wallace had that evening taken a quantity of treasure from the castle. 
His report was that the English soldiers who stood near the Scottish 
knight when he mounted saw a long iron coff*er under his arm, but they 
thought not of it till they overheard Sir John ]\Ionteith muttering 
something about gold and a box. To intercept the robber, the soldiers 
deemed impracticable, and therefore their captain came immediately 
to lay the information before the Governor of Lanark. As the scab- 
bard found in the affray with young Arthur had betrayed the victor 
to have been Wallace, this intimation of his having been also the instru- 
ment of wresting from the grasp of Heselrigge, perhaps the most 
valuable spoil in Douglas, inflamed him with the double furies of 
revenge and avarice, so he ordered out a new troop, and placing him- 
self at its head took the way to Ellerslie. One of the servants, whom 
some of Hambledon's men had seized, confessed to Heselrigge that 
not only Wallace was in the house when it was attacked, but that the 
person whom he had rescued in the streets of Lanark, and who proved 
to be a wealthy nobleman, was there also. This whetted the eagerness 
of the governor to reach Ellerslie; and expecting to get a rich booty, 
without an idea of the horrors he was going to perpetrate, a large 
detachment of men followed him. 

"To extort money from you, my lord," continued the soldier, "and 


to obtain that fatal coff'er, were his main objects; but disappointed in 
his passion of avarice, he forgot he was a man, and the blood of inno- 
cence glutted his vengeance." 

"Hateful gold!" cried Lord Mar, spurning the box with his foot; 
"it cannot be for itself the noble Wallace so greatly prizes it : it must 
be a trust." 

"I believe it is," returned Halbert, "for he enjoined my lady to 
preserve it for the sake of his honor. Take care of it then, my lord, 
for the same sacred reason." 

The Englishman made no objection to accompany the earl, and by 
a suggestion of his own, Halbert brought him a Scottish bonnet and 
cloak from the house. 

"England shall hear more of this outrage!" cried Mar, as he threw 
himself across the horse. "Give me that fatal box, I will buckle it to 
my saddle-bow. Inadequate will be my utmost care of it, to repay 
the sorrows its preservation and mine have brought upon the head of 
my deliverer." 

The soldier in silence mounted his horse, and Halbert opened a 
gate that led to the hills which lay between Ellerslie and Bothwell 
castle. Lord JNIar took a golden-trophied bugle from his breast. 
"Give this to your master, and tell him that by whatever hands he 
sends it, the sight of it shall always command the services of Donald 
Mar. I go to Bothwell in expectation that he will join me there. In 
making it his home he will render me happy, for my friendship is now 
bound to him by bonds which only death can sever." 

Halbert took the horn, and promising faithfully to repeat the 
earl's message, prayed God to bless him and the honest soldier. A 
rocky promontory soon excluded them from his sight, and in a few 
minutes more even the sound of the horses' hoofs was lost on the soft 
herbage of the winding dell. 

"Now I am alone in this once happy spot. Not a voice, not a 
sound. O Wallace!" cried he, throwing up his venerable arms, "thy 
house is left unto thee desolate, and I am to be the fatal messenger." 
With the last words he struck into a deep ravine which led to the glen, 
and pursued his way in silence. He looked to the right and to the left ; 
no smoke curling from behind the intersecting rocks reminded him of 
the morning hour, or invited him to take a moment's rest from his 
grievous journey. All was lonely and comfortless; and sighing bit- 
terly over the devastation, he concealed the fatal sword and the horn 
under his cloak, and with a staff, which he broke from a withered tree, 
took his way down the winding craigs to the deep caves of Corie Lynn. 



After having traversed many a weary rood, the venerable minstrel of 
the house of Wallace, exhausted by fatigue, sat down on the declivity 
of a steep craig. The burning beams of the midday sun now beat upon 
the rocks, but a few berries from the brambles, which knit themselves 
over the path, with a draught of water from a friendly burn, offered 
themselves to revive his enfeebled limbs. Insufficient as they ap- 
peared, he took them, and strengthened by half an hour's rest, again 
he gi'asped his staff to pursue his way. 

After breaking a passage through the shrubs that grew across the 
only footing in this wilderness, he went along the side of the expand- 
ing stream, which at every turning of the rocks increased in depth and 
violence. Prodigious craggy heights towered above his head as he 
ascended; while the rolling clouds which canopied their summits 
seemed descending to wrap him in their fleecy skirts, and the project- 
ing rocks bending over the waters of the glen left him only a narrow 
shelf in the cliff, along which he crept till it brought him to the mouth 
of a cavern. 

He must either enter it or return the way he came, or attempt the 
descent of overhanging precipices, which nothing could surmount but 
the pinions of their native birds. Above him was the mountain. Re- 
tread his footsteps until he had seen his beloved master he was resolved 
not to do. He therefore entered the cavity, and passing on, soon per- 
ceived an aperture, through which emerging on the other side he 
found himself again on the margin of the river. Having attained a 
wider bed, it left him a still narrower causeway to perform the remain- 
der of his journey. 

But an unlooked-for obstacle baffled his progress. A growing 
gloom he had not observed in the valley, having entirely overspread 
the heavens, at this moment suddenly discharged itself, amidst peals 
of thunder, in heavy floods of rain upon his head. 

Fearful of being overwhelmed by the streams which now on all 
sides crossed his path, he kept upon the edge of the river, to be as far 
as possible from their violence. And thus he proceeded till the aug- 



merited storm of a world of waters, dashing from side to side, told 
him he was indeed not far from the fall of Corie Lynn. 

The spray was spread in so thick a mist over the glen he knew not 
how to advance. A step farther might be on tlie firm earth, but 
might dash him into the roaring Lynn, where he would be ingulfed 
at once in its furious whirlpool. He paused and looked around. The 
rain had ceased, but the thunder still rolled at a distance. Halbert 
shook his gray locks, streaming with wet, and looked towards the 
sun, now gilding with its last rays the vast sheets of falling water. 

"This is thine hour, my master," exclaimed the old man, "and 
surely I am too near the Lynn to be far from thee." 

With these words he raised the pipe that hung at his breast, and 
blew three strains of the appointed air. In former days it used to call 
from her bower that "fair star of evening," the beauteous Marion, now 
departed forever into her native heaven. The notes trembled as he 
breathed them into the instrument ; but though the roar of the cataract 
might have prevented their reaching a less attentive ear than that of 
Wallace, yet he sprang from the recess under the fall, and dashing 
through its waters, the next instant was at the side of Halbert. 

"Faithful creature!" cried he, catching him in his arms with joy, 
"how fares my Marion?" 

"I am weary," cried the heart-stricken old man; "take me within 
your sanctuary, and I will tell you all." 

Wallace perceived that his time-worn servant was indeed ex- 
hausted ; and knowing the hazards of the track he must have passed 
over in his way to this solitude, also remembering how, as he sat in his 
shelter, he had himself dreaded the effects of the storm upon so aged 
a traveler, he readily accounted for the pale countenance and tremu- 
lous step which at first had excited his alarm. 

Giving the old man his hand he led him with caution to the brink 
of the Lynn, and then folding him in his arms, dashed with him 
through the tumbling water into the cavern he had chosen for his 
asylum. Halbert sank against its rocky side, and putting forth his 
hand to catch some of the water as it fell, drew a few drops to his 
parched lips and swallowed them. After this he breathed a little and 
turned his eyes upon his master. 

"Are you sufficiently recovered, Halbert, to tell me how you left 
my dearest Marion?" 

Halbert dreaded to see the light which now cheered him from the 
eyes of his master overclouded with the horrors his story must unfold ; 
he evaded a direct reply. "I saw your guest in safety; I saw him and 
the iron box on their way to Bothwell." 


"What!" inquired Wallace, "were we mistaken? was not the earl 
dead when we looked into the well?" Halbert replied in the negative, 
and was proceeding with an account of his recovery and his departure 
when Wallace interrupted him. 

"But what of my wife, Halbert? why tell me of others before of 
her? She whose safety and remembrance are now my sole comfort." 

"Oh, my dear lord!" cried Halbert, throwing himself on his knees 
in agony; "she remembers you where best her prayers can be heard.! 
She kneels for her beloved Wallace before the throne of God." 

"Halbert!" cried Sir William, in a low and fearful voice, "what 
would you say? My Marion — speak! tell me in one word, she lives!" 

"In heaven." 

At this confirmation of a sudden terror, imbibed from the ambigu- 
ous words of Halbert, Wallace covered his face with his hands and 
fell with a deep groan against the side of the cavern; a mist seemed 
passing over his eyes, life was receding, and gladly did he believe his 
spirit on the eve of joining hers. 

In having declared that the idol of his master's heart no longer 
existed for him in this world, Halbert thought he had revealed the 
worst, and he went on: "Her latest breath v\'as spent in prayer for 
you. 'My Wallace' were the last words her angel spirit uttered as it 
issued from her bleeding wounds." 

The cry that burst from the heart of Wallace, as he started on 
his feet at this horrible disclosure, seemed to pierce through all the 
recesses of the glen, and was reechoed from rock to rock. Halbert 
threw his arms round his master's knees. The frantic blaze of his 
eyes struck him with affright. "Hear me, my lord; for the sake of 
your wife, now an angel hovering near you, hear what I have to say." 

Wallace looked around with a wild countenance. "My Marion 
near me! Blessed spirit! Oh, my murdered wife! Who made those 
wounds?" cried he, catching Halbert's arm with a tremendous though 
unconscious grasp; "tell me who had the heart to aim a blow at that 
angel's life?" 

"The Governor of Lanark," replied Halbert. 

"How? for what?" demanded Wallace, with the glare of madness 
shooting from his eyes. "My wife! my wife! what had she done?" 

"He came at the head of a band of ruffians, and seizing my lady, 
commanded her on the peril of her life to declare where you and the 
Earl of Mar and the box of treasure were concealed. JNIy lady per- 
sisted to refuse him information, and in a deadly rage he plunged his 
sword into her breast." Wallace clenched his hands over his face, and 
Halbert went on. "Before he aimed a second blow I had broken 


from the men who held me and thrown myself on her bosom ; but all 
could not save her: the villain's sword had penetrated her heart." 

"Great God!" exclaimed Wallace, "dost thou hear this murder?" 
His hands were stretched towards heaven; then falling on his knees, 
with his eyes fixed, "Give me power. Almighty Judge," cried he, "to 
assert thy justice! Let me avenge this angel's blood, and then take 
me to thy mercy!" 

"What is it you intend, my lord," cried Halbert, viewing with 
alarm the ferocity which now, blazing from every part of his coun- 
tenance, seemed to dilate his figure with more than mortal daring. 
"What can you do? Your single arm " 

"I am not single — God is with me. I am his avenger." At the 
word he sprang from the cavern's mouth, and had already reached the 
topmost cliff when the piteous cries of Halbert recalled him to recol- 
lection, and returning to his faithful servant, he tried to soothe his 
fears, and spoke in a composed though determined tone. "I will lead 
you from this solitude to the mountains, where the shepherds of 
Ellerslie are tending their flocks. With them you will find a refuge 
till you have strength to reach Bothwell castle. Lord Mar will protect 
you for my sake." 

Halbert now remembered the bugle, and putting it into his mas- 
ter's hand, with its accompanying message, asked for some testimony 
in return, that the earl might know he had delivered it safely. "Even 
a lock of your precious hair, my beloved master, will be sufficient." 

"Thou shalt have it, severed from my head by my own dagger," 
answered Wallace, taking off his bonnet and letting his amber locks 
fall in tresses on his shoulders. Halbert burst into a fresh flood of 
tears, for he remembered how often it had been the delight of Marion 
to twist those bright tresses round her fingers. Wallace looked up as 
the old man's sobs became audible, and read his thoughts: "It will 
never be again, Halbert," cried he, and with a firm grasp of his dagger 
he cut off a handful of his hair. 

"Here, Halbert," continued he, knotting it together, "take this to 
the Earl of Mar: it is all, most likely, he will ever see again of William 
Wallace. Should I fall, tell him to look on that, and in my wrongs 
read the miseries of Scotland, and remember that God armeth the 
patriot's hand. Let him act on that conviction, and Scotland may 
yet be free." 

Halbert placed the lock in his bosom, but again repeated his en- 
treaties that his master would accompany him to Bothwell castle. He 
urged the consolation he would micet from the good earl's friendship. 

"If he indeed regard me," returned Wallace, "for my sake let him 


cherish you. My consolations must come from a higher hand: I go 
where it directs. If I hve, you shall see me again; but twilight 
approaches — we must away. The sun must not rise again upon 

Halbert now followed Wallace, who drew him up the precipitous 
side of the Lynn, and then leaping from rock to rock, awaited with 
impatience the poor old harper, as he crept round a circuit of over- 
hanging cliffs, to join him on the summit of the craigs. 

Together they struck into the most inaccessible defiles of the moun- 
tains, and proceeded till, on discerning smoke whitening the black 
sides of the impending rocks, Wallace saw himself near the objects of 
his search. He sprang on a high cliff projecting over this mountain 
valley, and blowing his bugle with a few notes of the well-known 
pibroch of Lanarkshire, was answered by the reverberation of a thou- 
sand echoes. 

At the loved sounds which had not dared to visit their ears since 
the Scottish standard was lowered to Edward, the hills seemed teem- 
ing with life. Men rushed from their fastnesses, and women with their 
babes eagerly followed, to see whence sprang a summons so dear to 
every Scottish heart. Wallace stood on the cliff, like the newly 
aroused genius of his country: his long plaid floated afar, and his 
glittering hair, streaming on the blast, seemed to mingle with the 
golden fires which shot from the heavens. 

"Scotsmen," cried Wallace, waving his sword, "I come to call you 
to vengeance. I come in the name of all ye hold dear, of the wives of 
your bosoms and the children in their arms, to tell you the poniard of 
England is unsheathed — innocence and age and infancy fall before it. 
Last night did Heselrigge, the Enghsh tyrant of Lanark, break into 
my house and murder my wife." 

The shriek of horror that burst from every mouth interrupted 
Wallace. "Vengeance! vengeance!" was the cry of the men, while 
tumultuous lamentations for the sweet Lady of Ellerslie filled the 
air from the women. 

Wallace sprang from the cliff into the midst of his brave country- 
men : "Follow me, then, to strike the mortal blow !" 

"Lead on!" cried a vigorous old man. "I drew this stout claymore 
last in the battle of Largs. Life and Alexander was then the word of 
victory: now, ye accursed Southrons, ye shall meet the slogan of Death 
and Lady Marion/* 

"Death and Lady Marion!" was echoed with shouts from mouth 
to mouth. Every sword was drawn; and those hardy peasants who 

Copyright by Charles Scribner's So7ts 

The pledge 


owned none, seizing the instruments of pasturage, armed themselves 
with wolf-spears, pickaxes, forks, and scythes. 

Sixty resolute men now arranged themselves around their chief. 
Wallace, whose heart turned icy cold at the dreadful slogan of his 
Marion's name, more fiercely grasped his sword, and murmured to 
himself, "From this hour may Scotland date her liberty, or Wallace 
return no more. My faithful friends," cried he, turning to his men 
and placing his plumed bonnet on his head, "let the spirits of your 
fathers inspire your souls! ye go to assert that freedom for which 
they died. Before the moon sets, the tyrant of Lanark must fall 
in blood." 

"Death and Lady Marion!" was the peahng answer that echoed 
from the hills. 

Wallace again sprang on the cliffs. His brave peasants followed 
him; and taking their rapid march by a cut through the Cartlane 
craigs, leaping chasms and climbing perpendicular rocks, they suffered 
no obstacles to impede their steps while thus rushing onward like hons 
to their prey. 



Wallace and his little army now rapidly pursued their march. It 
was midnight — all was silent as they hurried through the glen, as they 
ascended the steep acclivities that led to the cliffs which overhung the 
vale of Ellerslie. Wallace must pass along their brow. Beneath was 
the tomb of his sacrificed Marion. Tie rushed forward to snatch one 
look, even of the roof which shrouded her beloved remains. 

But in the moment before he mounted the intervening height, a 
soldier in English armor crossed the path, and was seized by his men. 
One of them would have cut him down, but Wallace turned away the 
weapon. "Hold, Scot!" cried he, "you are not a Southron, to strike 
the defenseless. This man has no sword." 

The rescued man joyfully recognizing the voice of Wallace, ex- 
claimed, "It is my lord! He has saved my life a second time!" 

"Who are you?" asked Wallace: "that helmet can cover no friend 
of mine." 

"I am your servant Dugald," returned the man; "he whom your 
brave arm saved from the battle-ax of Arthur Heselrierge." 

"I cannot now ask you how you came by that armor; but if you be 
yet a Scot, throw it off and follow me." 

"Not to Ellerslie, my lord," cried he; "it has been plundered and 
burnt to the ground by the Governor of Lanark." 

"Then," exclaimed Wallace, striking his breast, "are the remains 
of my beloved Marion forever ravished from my eyes!" 

He had now mounted the craig which overlooked Ellerslie. His 
once happy home had disappeared, and beneath lay a heap of smoking 
ashes. He hastened from the sight, and directing the point of his 
sword towards Lanark, reechoed with supernatural strength, "For- 

With the rapidity of lightning his little host flew over the hills, 
reached the cliffs which divided them from the town, and leaped down 
before the outward trench of the castle of Lanark. In a moment 
Wallace sprang so feeble a barrier; and with a shout of death, in which 
the tremendous slogan of his men now joined, he rushed upon the 
guard that held the northern gate. 



Here slept the governor. These opponents being slain by the first 
sweep of the Scottish swords, Wallace hastened onward, winged with 
twofold retribution. The noise of battle was behind him, for the shout 
of his men had aroused the garrison and di-awn its soldiers, half naked, 
to the spot. He reached the door of the governor. The sentinel who 
stood there flew before the terrible warrior that presented himself. 
All the mighty vengeance of Wallace blazed in his face and seemed 
to surround his figure with a terrible splendor. With one stroke of 
his foot he drove the door from its hinges and rushed into the room. 

What a sight for the now awakened and guilty Heselriggel It 
was the husband of the defenseless woman he had murdered, come in 
the power of justice, with vengeance in his eyes. With an outcry for 
the mercy he dared not expect, he fell back into the bed and sought an 
unavailing shield beneath its folds. 

"Marion! Marion!" cried Wallace, as he threw himself towards 
the bed and buried his sword through the coverlid deep into the heart 
of her murderer. Drawing out the sword he took the streaming blade 
in his hand. "Vengeance is satisfied," cried he; "thus, O God! do I 
henceforth divide self from my heart!" As he spoke he snapt the 
sword in twain, and throwing away the pieces, put back with his hand 
the weapons of his brave companions, who, having cleared the passage 
of their assailants, had hurried forward to assist in ridding their 
country of so detestable a tyrant. 

" 'Tis done," cried he and turned away; but the men exulting in 
the sight, with a shout of triumph exclaimed, "So fall the enemies of 
Sir William Wallace!" 

"Rather so fall the enemies of Scotland!" cried he; "from this hour 
Wallace has neither love nor resentment but for her. Heaven has 
heard me devote myself to work our country's freedom or to die. W^ho 
will follow me in so just a cause?" 

"All ! with Wallace forever !" 

The new clamor which this resolution excited intimidated a fresh 
band of soldiers, who were hastening across the court-yard to seek 
the enemy in the governor's apartments. But on the noise they 
hastily retreated, and no exertions of their officers could prevail on 
them to advance again when the resolute Scots with Wallace at their 
head soon afterwards issued from the great gate. The English com- 
manders seeing the panic of their men, which they were less able to 
surmount on account of the way to the gate being strewn with their 
slain comrades, fell back into the shadow of the towers, where by the 
light of the moon, like men paralyzed, they viewed the departure of 
their enemies over the trenches. 



The sun was rising from the eastern hills when the victorious group 
reentered the mountain-glen where their families lay. The cheerful 
sounds of their bugles aroused the sleepers from their caves, and many 
were the embraces which welcomed the warriors to affection and 

Wallace, while he threw himself along a bed of purple heath, 
gathered for him by many a busy hand, listened with a calmed mind 
to the inquiries of Halbert, who, awakened by the first blast of the 
horn, had started from his shelter to hail the return of his master. 
While his followers retired each to the bosom of his family, the chief 
of Ellerslie remained alone with the old man, and recounted to him the 
success of his enterprise, and the double injuries he had avenged. 
"The assassin," continued he, "has paid with his life for his inexpiable 
crime. He is slain, and with him several of Edward's garrison. My 
vengeance may be appeased; but all else is lost to me: I have now 
nothing to do with this world but as I may be the instrument of good 
to others. The Scottish sword has now been redrawn against our 
foes ; and with the blessing of Heaven, I swear it shall not be sheathed 
till Scotland be rid of the tyranny which has slain my happiness. 
Death or liberty must be the future fate of Wallace and his friends." 

At these words tears ran down the cheeks of the venerable harper. 
"Alas! my master," exclaimed he, "what is it you would do? For the 
sake of her memory whom you deplore; in pity to the worthy Earl of 
Mar, who will arraign himself as the cause of all these calamities, and 
of your death, should you fall, retract this desperate vow." 

"No, my good Halbert," returned Wallace, "I am neither des- 
perate nor inefficient; and you, faithful creature, shall have no cause 
to mourn this night's resolution. Go to Lord Mar and tell him what 
are my resolves. I have nothing now that binds me to life but my 
country. Would you, by persuading me to resign my interest in 
her, devote me to a hermit's seclusion amongst these rocks? for I will 
never again appear in the tracks of men if it be not as the defender 
of her rights." 



"But where, my master, shall we find you, should the earl choose 
to join you with his followers?" 

"In this wilderness, whence I shall not remove rashly. ]My pur- 
pose is to save my countrymen, not to sacrifice them in needless 

Halbert, oppressed with sorrow, bowed his head with submission, 
and leaving Wallace to his rest, retired to the mouth of the cavern 
to weep alone. 

It was noon before the chief awaked from the death-like sleep 
into which nature had plunged his senses. He opened his eyes lan- 
guidly, and when the sight of his rocky apartment forced on him the 
recollection of all his miseries, he uttered a deep groan. That sad 
sound, so different from the jocund voice with which Wallace used to 
issue from his rest, struck on the heart of Halbert: he drew near his 
master to receive his last commands for Bothwell. "On my knees," 
added he, "will I implore the earl to send you succors." 

"He needs not prayers for that," returned Wallace; "but depart, 
dear Halbert; it will comfort me to know you are in safety, and whith- 
ersoever you go you carry my blessings with you." 

Old age opens the fountain of tears ; Halbert's flowed profusely, 
and bathed his master's hand. Could Wallace have wept, it would 
have been then; but with a voice of assumed cheerfulness he renewed 
his efforts to encourage his desponding servant. Persuaded that a 
superior Being did indeed call his beloved master to exertions for 
Scotland, Halbert bade him an anxious farewell, and then withdrew 
to commit him to the companions of his destiny. 

After traversing many a weary mile, between Cartlane craigs and 
Bothwell castle, Halbert reached the valley in which that fortress 
stands; and calling to the warder at its gates, that he came from Sir 
William Wallace, was immediately admitted, and conducted into the 

Halbert was led by a servant into a spacious chamber, where the 
earl lay upon a couch. A lady, richly habited, and in the bloom of life, 
sat at his head. Another, much younger, and of resplendent beauty, 
knelt at his feet, with a salver of medicinal cordials in her hand. The 
Lady Marion's loveliness had been that of soft moonlight evening, but 
the face which now turned upon Halbert as he entered was full of 
light, and splendor, and joy; and the old man's eyes, even though 
dimmed in tears, were dazzled. A young man stood near her. On the 
entrance of Halbert, whom the earl instantly recognized, he raised 
himself on his arm and welcomed him. The young lady rose and the 
young man stepped eagerly forward. 


The earl inquired anxiously for Sir William Wallace, and asked if 
he might expect him soon at Both well. 

"He cannot yet come, my lord," replied Halbert; "hard is the task 
he has laid upon his valiant head, but he is avenged : he has slain the 
Governor of Lanark." A faint exclamation broke from the lips of 
the young lady. 

"How?" demanded the earl. 

Halbert now gave an account of the anguish of Wallace when he 
was told of the events which had taken place at Ellerslie. As the 
honest harper described the zeal with which the shepherds on the 
heights took up arms to avenge the wrong done to their chief, the 
countenance of the young lady and of the youth glowed through tears ; 
they looked on each other; and Halbert proceeded: 

"When my master and his valiant troop were pursuing their way 
to Lanark, he was met by Dugal, the wounded man who had rushed 
into the room to apprise us of the advance of the English forces. 
During the confusion of that night he crept away, and concealed him- 
self from the soldiers amongst the bushes of the glen. When all was 
over, he came from his hiding-place ; and finding the English soldier's 
helmet and cloak, and still fearful of falling in with any straggling 
party of Heselrigge's, he disguised himself in those Southron clothes. 
He was venturing towards the house in search of food, when he was 
smjprised by seeing flames issue from the windows. Soldiers poured 
from the doors with shouts of triumph; some carried off the booty, 
and others watched by the fire till the interior of the building was con- 
sumed and the rest sunk a heap of smoking ruins. 

"The work completed, these ministers of devastation left the vale 
to its own solitude. Dugald, after waiting a long time, crawled from 
the bushes ; and ascending the cliffs, he was speeding to the mountains, 
when, encountering our armed shepherds, they mistook him for an 
English soldier, and seized him. The chief of ruined Ellerslie recog- 
nized his servant, and with redoubled indignation his followers heard 
the history of the ashes before them." 

"Brave, persecuted Wallace!" exclaimed the earl, "how dearly was 
my life purchased! But proceed, Halbert; tell me that he returned 
safe from Lanark." 

Halbert now recounted the dreadful scenes which took place in 
that town, and that when the governor fell, Wallace made a vow never 
to mingle with the world again till Scotland should be free. 

"Alas!" cried the earl, "what miracle is to effect that? Surely he 
will not bury that prime of manhood within the gloom of a cloister." ^^ 

"No, my lord; he has retired to the fastnesses of Cartlane craigs." 


"Why?" resumed Mar; "why did he not rather fly to me? This 
castle is strong; and while one stone of it remains upon another, not 
all the hosts of England should take him hence." 

"It was not your friendship he doubted," returned the old man; 
"love for his country compels him to reject all comfort in which she 
does not share. His last words to me were these: 'I have nothing 
now to do but to assert the liberties of Scotland and to rid her of her 
enemies. Go to Lord Mar and take this lock of my hair; it is all, most 
likely, he will ever again see of William Wallace. Should I fall, tell 
him to look on that, and in my wrongs read the future miseries of 
Scotland, and remember that God armeth the patriot.' " 

Tears dropped so fast from the young lady's eyes, she was obliged 
to walk to a window to restrain a more violent burst of grief. 

"O my uncle!" cried the youth, "surely the freedom of Scotland is 
possible. I feel in my soul that the words of the brave Wallace are 

The earl held the lock of hair in his hands ; he regarded it, lost in 

" 'God armeth the patriot!' " He paused again; then raising the 
sacred present to his lips, "Yes," cried he, "thy vow shall be per- 
formed; and while Donald Mar has an arm to wield a sword, or a man 
to follow to the field, thou shalt command both him and them!" 

"But not as you are, my lord," cried the elder lady; "your wounds 
are yet unliealed. Would it not be madness to expose your safety at 
such a crisis?" 

"I shall not take arms myself," answered he, "till I can bear them 
to effect; meanwhile all of my clan and of my friends that I can raise 
to guard the life of my deliverer, and to promote the cause, must be 
summoned. This lock shall be my pennon; and what Scotsman will 
look on that and shrink from his colors? Here, Helen, my child," 
cried he, addressing the young lady, "before to-morrow's dawn have 
this hair wrought into my banner. It will be a patriot's standard; and 
let his own irresistible words be the motto — God armeth meT 

Helen advanced with trepidation. Having been told by the earl 
of the valor of Wallace and of the cruel death of his lady, she had 
conceived a gratitude and a pity deeper than language could express 
for the man who had lost so much by succoring one so dear to her. She 
took the lock, waving in yellow light upon her hands, and, trembling 
with emotion, was leaving the room, when she heard her cousin throw 
himself on his knees. 

"I beseech you, my honored uncle," cried he, "if you have love 


for me, or value for my future fame, allow me to be the bearer of yon 
banner to Sir William Wallace." 

Helen stopped at the threshold to hear the reply. 

"You could not, my dear nephew," returned the earl, "have asked 
me any favor I could grant with so much joy. To-morrow I will 
collect the peasantry of Bothwell, and with those and my own fol- 
lowers you shall join Wallace the same night." 

Ignorant of the horrors of war, Helen sympathized in the ardor of 
her cousin, and with a thrill of delight hurried to her apartment to 
commence her task. 

Far different were the sentiments of the young countess, her step- 
mother. As soon as Lord Mar had let this declaration escape his 
lips, alarmed at the effect so much agitation might have on his en- 
feebled constitution, and fearful of the cause he ventured thus openly 
to espouse, she desired his nephew to take the grateful Halbert and 
see that he was attended with hospitality. 

When the room was left to the earl and herself, she ventured to 
remonstrate with him upon the facility with which he had become a 
party in so treasonable a matter: "Consider, my lord," continued she, 
"that Scotland is now entirety in the power of the English monarch. 
His garrisons occupy our towns, his creatures hold every place of 
trust in the kingdom." 

"And is such a list of oppressions, my dear lady, to be an argument 
for longer bearing them? Had I and other Scottish nobles dared to 
resist this overwhelming power after the battle of Dunbar, Scotland 
might now be free, I should not have been insulted by our Enghsh 
tyrants in the streets of Lanark, and to save my hfe William Wallace 
would not now be mourning his murdered wife, and without a home 
to shelter him!" 

Lady Mar paused at this observation, but resumed: "That may 
be true. But the die is cast; Scotland is lost forever; and, by your 
attempting to assist your friend, you will only lose yourself also, with- 
out preserving him. Now that the contention between the two kings 
is past, now that Baliol has surrendered his crown to Edward, is not 
Scotland at peace?" 

"A bloody peace, Joanna," answered the earl; "witness these 
wounds. I have now seen and felt enough of Edward's jurisdiction. 
It is time I should awake, and, like Wallace, determine to die for 
Scotland, or avenge her." 

Lady Mar wept. "Cruel Donald! is this the reward of all my 
love and duty? you tear yourself from me, you consign your estates to 
sequestration, you rob your children of their name; nay, by youi 


example you stimulate our brother Bothwell's son to head the band 
that is to join this madman, Wallace." 

"Hold, Joanna!" cried the earl; "what is it I hear? You call the 
hero who, in saving your husband's life, reduced himself to these cruel 
extremities, a madman! Was he mad because he prevented the 
Countess of Mar from being a widow? Was he mad because he pre- 
vented her children from being fatherless?" 

The countess, overcome by this reproach, threw herself upon her 
husband's neck. "Alas, my lord!" cried she, "all is madness to me 
that would plunge you into danger. Think of your own safety, of my 
innocent twins now in their cradle. Think of our brother's feelings 
when you send his only son to join one he, perhaps, will call a rebel." 

"If Earl Bothwell considered himself a vassal of Edward's, he 
would not now be with Lord Loch-awe. From the moment that 
gallant Highlander retired to Argyleshire, the King of England re- 
garded his adherents with suspicion. Bothwell's present visit to 
Loch-awe, you see, is sufficient to sanction the plunder of this castle 
by the peaceful government you approve. You saw the opening of 
those proceedings. And had they come to their dreadful issue, where, 
my dear Joanna, would now be your home, your husband, your chil- 
dren? It was the arm of the brave chief of Ellerslie which saved them 
from destruction." 

Lady Mar shuddered. "I admit the truth of what you say. But, 
oh! is it not hard to put my all to the hazard; to see the bloody field 
on one side of my beloved Donald, and the mortal scaffold on the 

"Hush!" cried the earl; "it is justice that beckons me, and victory 
will receive me to her arms. Let the victorious field for Scotland be 
Donald Mar's grave, rather than doom him to live a witness of her 

"I cannot stay to hear you," answered the countess; "I must invoke 
the Virgin to give me courage to be a patriot's wife ; at present, your 
words are daggers to me." 

In uttering this she hastily withdrew, and left the earl to concert 
plans for the portentous future. 



Meanwhile the Lady Helen had retired to her own apartments. 
Lord Mar's banner being brought to her from the armory, she sat 
down to weave into its silken texture the amber locks of the Scottish 
chief. Admiring their softness and beauty, while her needle flew she 
pictured to herself the fine countenance they had once adorned. 

"Unhappy Lady Wallace!" sighed she to herself; "what a pang 
must have rent her heart when the stroke of death tore her from such 
a husband ! and how must he have loved her, when for her sake he thus 
forswears all future joys but those which camps and victories may 
yield! Ah, what would I give to be my cousin Murray, to bear this 
pennon at his side ! To be that man's friend would be a higher honor 
than to be Edward's queen." 

Her heart was thus discoursing with itself when a page opened 
the door, from her cousin, who begged admittance. She had just 
fastened the flowing charge into its azure field, and while embroidering 
the motto, gladly assented. 

"You know not, my good old man," said the gallant Murray to 
Halbert, as he conducted him across the galleries, "what a noble mind 
is contained in that lovely young creature. I was brought up with 
her, and to her do I owe that love of true glory which carries me to 
the side of Sir William Wallace. I know she rejoices in my present 
destination, and to prevent her hearing from your own lips all you 
have now told me of the virtues of my intended commander, all you 
have said of the heroism of his wife, would be depriving her of a 
mournful pleasure, only to be appreciated by a heart such as hers." 

The gray-haired bard of Ellerslie, who had ever received the 
dearest rewards of his songs in the smiles of its mistress, did not re- 
quire persuasion to appear before the gentle Lady of Mar, or to recite 
in her ears the story of departed loveliness. 

Helen rose as he and her cousin appeared. Murray approved the 
execution of her work, and Halbert, with a full heart, took the pennon 
in his hand. "Ah! little did my dear lady think," exclaimed he, "that 
one of these loved locks would lead men to battle! What changes 
have a few days made! She, the gentlest of women, laid in a bloody 



grave; and he, the most benevolent of human beings, wielding an 
exterminating sword!" 

"You speak of her grave, venerable man," inquired Helen; "had 
you, then, an opportunity of performing the rites of sepulture to 
her remains?" 

"No, madam," replied he; "after the worthy English soldier, now 
in this castle, assisted me to place her precious body in my lord's 
oratory, I had no opportunity of returning to give her a more holy 

"Alas!" cried Helen; "then her sacred relics have been consumed 
in the burning house!" 

"I hope not," rejoined Halbert; "the chapel I speak of is at some 
distance from the main building. It was excavated in the rock by Sir 
Ronald Crawford, who gave the name of Ellerslie to this estate, in 
compliment to Sir William's place of birth in Renfrewshire, and be- 
stowed it on the bridal pair. Both the parents of my honored master 
died in the bloom of their lives; and a grievous task will it be to who- 
ever is to tell the good Sir Ronald that the last sweet flower of Ellerslie 
is now cut down!" 

The tears of the venerable harper bore testimony to his resolve that 
this messenger should not be himself. Lady Helen, who had fallen 
into a reverie during the latter part of his speech, now spoke, and 
with something of eagerness. 

"Then we may hope," rejoined she, "that the oratory has not only 
escaped the flames, but perhaps the access of the English soldiers? 
Would it not comfort your lord to have that sweet victim entombed 
according to the rites of the Church?" 

"Surely, my lady; but how can that be done? He thinks her re- 
mains were lost in the conflagration of Ellerslie; and for fear of 
precipitating him into new dangers, I did not disprove his mistake." 

"But her body shall be brought away," rejoined Lady Helen; "it 
shall have holy burial." 

"To effect this, command my services," exclaimed Murray. 

Helen thanked him for an assistance which would render the com- 
pletion of her design easy. The English soldier as guide, and a troop 
from Bothwell, must accompany him. 

"Alas! my young lord," interposed Halbert, "suppose you should 
meet some of the English still loitering there." 

"And what of that, my honest Halbert, would not I and my trusty 
band make them clear the way? Is it not to give comfort to the de- 
liverer of my uncle that I seek the glen? and shall anything in mortal 
shape make Andrew Murray turn his back? No, Halbert, I was not 


born on Saint Andrew's day for naught; and by his bright cross I 
swear either to lay Lady Wallace in the tomb of my ancestors, or 
to leave my bones to blanch on the grave of hers." 

Helen loved the resolution of her cousin; and believing that 
Ellerslie had now no attractions to hold marauders amongst its ruins, 
she dismissed Lord Andrew to make his preparations, and turned her- 
self to prefer her suit accordingly to her father. 

Ere Halbert withdrew he respectfully put her hand to his lips. 
"Good night," continued she; "ere you see me again, I trust the earthly 
part of the angel now in paradise will be safe within these towers." 

On entering her father's apartment. Lady Helen found him alone. 
She repeated to him the substance of her conversation with Wallace's 
faithful servant; "and my wish is," continued she, "to have the mur- 
dered lady's remains entombed in the cemetery of this castle." 

The earl approved her request with expressions of satisfaction at 
the filial affection which her gratitude to his preserver evinced. 

"May I then, my dear father," returned she, "have your permis- 
sion to pay our debt to Sir William Wallace, to the utmost of our 
power f 

"You are at liberty, my noble child, to do as you please. My 
vassals, my coffers, are all at your command." 

Helen kissed his hand. "May I have what I please from the 
Bothwell armory?" 

"Command even there," said the earl; "your uncle Bothwell is too 
true a Scot to grudge a sword in so pious a cause." 

Helen threw her arms about her father's neck, thanking him ten- 
derly, and retired to prosecute her plans. Murray, who met her in 
the anteroom, informed her that fifty men, the sturdiest in the glen, 
awaited her orders; while she, telling her cousin of the earl's approval, 
took the sacred banner in her hand, and followed him to the galleiy 
in the hall. 

The moment she appeared, a shout of joy bade her welcome. 
Murray waved his hand in token of silence, while she, smiling upon 
them, spoke with agitation: "My brave friends," said she, "I thank 
you for the ardor with which, by this night's enterprise, you assist me 
to pay, in part, the tribute due to the man who preserved to me the 
blessing of a father." 

"And to us, noble lady," cried they, "the most generous of chiefs." 

"With that spirit, then," returned she, "I address ye with greater 
confidence. Who amongst you will shrink from following this stand- 
ard to the field for Scotland's honor? Who will refuse to make him- 
self the guardian of the life of Sir William Wallace?" 


"None are here," cried a young man, advancing before his fellows, 
"who would not gladly die in his defense." 

"We swear it!" burst from every lip at once. 

She bowed her head, and said, "Return from EUerslie to-morrow 
with the bier of its sainted mistress. I will then bestow upon every 
man in this band a war-bonnet plumed with my colors; and this 
banner shall then lead you to the side of Sir William Wallace. In 
the shock of battle look at its golden ensign, and remember that God 
not only armeth the pattiofs hand, but shieldeth his heart." 

"Wallace and Lady Helen! to death or libertj^!" was the response 
to this exhortation; and smiling, in token of thanks to them and to 
Heaven, she retired in the midst of their acclamations. Murray, ready 
armed for his expedition, met her at the door. Restored to his usual 
vivacity by the emotions which tlie present scene awakened in his 
heart, he forgot the horrors which had aroused his zeal in the glory of 
anticipated victory; and giving her a gay salutation, led her back to 
her apartments, where the English soldier awaited her commands. 
Lady Helen, with a gentle grace, commended his noble resentment of 
Heselrigge's violence. 

"Lands in Mar shall be yours," added she, "or a post of honor in 
the little army the earl is now going to raise. Speak but the word, and 
you shall find, worthy Englishman, that neither a Scotsman nor his 
daughter knows what it is to be ungrateful." 

The blood mounted into the soldier's cheek. "I thank you, lady, 
for this generous offer; but, as I am an Englishman, I dare not accept 
it. My arms are due to my own fatherland, and I should be unwar- 
ranted in breaking her bonds. I left Heselrigge because he dishonored 
my country, and for me to forswear her would be to make myself 
infamous. Hence all I ask is, that after I have this night obeyed 
your gracious commands in leading your men to EUerslie, the Earl of 
Mar will allow me instantly to depart for the nearest port." 

Lady Helen replied that she revered his sentiments; and taking a 
diamond clasp from her bosom, she put it into his hand: "Wear that 
in remembrance of your virtue and of Helen Mar's gratitude." The 
man kissed it respectfully, and bowing, swore to preserve the gift to 
the latest hour of his existence. 

Helen retired to her chamber to finish her task, and Murray, 
bidding her good night, repaired to the earl's apartments to take his 
final orders before he and his troop set out for the ruins of EUerslie. 



Night having passed over the inhabitants of Bothwell castle, the Earl 
of Mar was carried from his chamber and laid on a couch in the state 
apartment. His lady had not yet left the room of his daughter, by 
whose side she had lain the whole night, in hopes of infecting her with 
the fears which possessed herself. 

Helen replied that she could see no reason for such apprehensions, 
if her father, instead of joining Wallace in person, would, when he 
had sent him succors, retire with his family into the Highlands, and 
there await the issue of the contest. "It is too late to retreat, dear 
madam," continued she; "the first blow against the public enemy was 
struck in defense of Lord Mar, and would you have my father act so 
base a part as to abandon his preserver?" 

"Alas, my child!" answered the countess, "what great service will 
he have done to me or to your father if he deliver him from one danger, 
only to plunge him into another? Edward's power in this country is 
too great to be resisted now. Have not most of our barons sworn 
fealty to him? and are not the potent families of the Cummin, the 
SouHs, and the March all in his interest? You may perhaps say that 
most of these are my relations, and that I may turn them which way ] 
will; but if I have no influence with a husband, it would be madness 
to expect it over more distant kindred. How then, with such a host 
against him, can your father venture, without despair, to support the 
man who breaks the peace with England?" 

"Who can despair, honored lady," returned Helen, "in so just a 
cause? Let us rather believe with our good King David, that 'Honor 
must hope always; for no real evil can befall the virtuous, either in 
this world or in the next.' Were I a man, the justice that leads on the 
brave Wallace would nerve my arm with the strength of a host!" 

Helen's heart panted with a foretaste of the delight she would 
feel, when all her patriotic wishes should be fulfilled ; and pressing the 
now completed banner to her breast, her lips moved, though her voice 
did not utter the rapture of her heart. 

Lady Mar looked at her. "It is well, romantic girl, that you are 



of my own powerless sex; had it been otherwise, your disobedience 
might have made me rue the day I became your father's wife." 

"Sex," returned Helen, mildly, "could not have altered my sense 
of duty. Whether man or woman, I would obey you in all things 
consistent with my duty to a higher power ; but when that commands, 
then, by the ordinance of Heaven, we must 'leave father and mother, 
and cleave unto it.' " 

"And what, O foolish Helen! do you call a higher duty than that 
of a child to a parent, or a husband to his wife?" 

"Duty of any kind," respectfully answered the young daughter of 
Mar, "cannot be transgressed with innocence. Nor would it be any 
relinquishing of duty to you should my father leave you to take up 
arms in the assertion of his country's rights, for her rights are your 

"Who taught you this sophistry, Helen? Not your heart, for it 
would start at the idea of your father's blood." 

Helen turned pale. "Perhaps, madam, had not the preservation 
of my father's blood occasioned such malignity from the English that 
nothing but an armed force can deliver his preserver, I too might be 
content to see Scotland in slavery. But now, to wish my father to 
shrink behind the excuse of far-strained family duties, and to abandon 
Sir William Wallace to the bloodhounds who hunt his life, would be 
to devote the name of Mar to infamy." 

"Then it is to preserve Sir William Wallace you are thus anxious. 
My husband, his vassals, your cousin, and, in short, the sequestration 
of the estates of Mar and Bothwell, are all to be put to the hazard on 
account of a frantic outlaw; to whom, since the loss of his wife, I 
should suppose death would be preferable to any gratitude we can 
pay him." 

Lady Helen, at this ungrateful language, inwardly thanked 
Heaven that she inherited no part of the blood which animated so 
unfeeling a heart. "That he is an outlaw. Lady Mar, springs from 
us. That death would be the comforter of his sorrows, also, he owes 
to us; for was it not for my father's sake that his wife fell, and that 
he himself was driven into the wilds? I do not, then, blush for making 
his preservation my first prayer; and that he may achieve the freedom 
of Scotland is my second." 

"We shall see whose prayers will be answered first," returned 
Lady Mar. "My saints are perhaps nearer than yours, and before 
the close of this day you will have reason to repent such extravagant 

"Till now, you never disapproved them." 


"I allowed them in your infancy," replied the countess, "because 
I thought they went no further than a minstrel's song; but since they 
are become so dangerous, I rue the hour in which I permitted you and 
your sister to remain at Thirlestane, to imbibe these romantic ideas 
from the wizard of Ercildown.* Had not Sir Richard been your own 
mother's father I would not have been so easily prevailed on, and thus 
am I rewarded for my indulgence." 

"I hope, honored madam," said Helen, "you will never be ill- 
rewarded for that indulgence, either by my grandfather, my sister, 
or myself. Isabella, in the quiet of Thirlestane, has no chance of giv- 
ing you the offense that I do; and I am forced to offend you, because 
I cannot disobey my conscience. Cannot you, dear Lady Mar," con- 
tinued she, forcing a smile, "pardon the daughter of your early friend, 
my mother, who loved you as a sister? Cannot you forgive her Helen 
for revering justice, even more than your favor?" 

Influenced by Helen's sweet humility, the countess relaxed the 
frigid air she had assmned; and kissing her, with many injunctions to 
bless the hand that might put a stop to so ruinous an enthusiasm in 
her family, she quitted the room. 

As soon as Helen was alone, she called to recollection the generous 
permission with which her father had endov/ed her the night before, 
and wrapping herself in her mantle, and, attended by her page, pro- 
ceeded to the armory. The armorer was already there, having just 
given out arms for three hundred men, who, by the earl's orders, were 
to assemble by noon on Both well moor. 

Helen told the man she came for the best suit of armor in his 
custody — "one of the most excellent proof." 

He drew from an oaken chest a coat of black mail studded with 
gold. Helen admired its strength and beauty. "It is the richest in 
all Scotland," answered he, "and was worn by our great Canmore in 
all his victories." 

"Then it is worthy its destination. Bring it, with its helmet and 
sword, to my apartment." 

The armorer took it up, and, accompanied by the page carrying the 
lighter parts, followed her into the western tower. 

When Helen was again alone, it being yet very early in the morn- 
ing, she employed herself in pluming the casque, and forming the 
scarf she meant should adorn her present. Thus time flew, till the 
sand-glass told her it was the eighth hour. But ere she had finished 
her task she was roused from the profound stillness in which that part 

* Thomas of Ercildown, usually called The Rhymer. 


of the castle lay, by the doleful lament of the troop returning from 

She dropped the half-formed scarf from her hand, and listened, 
without daring to draw her breath, to the deep-toned lamentations. 
She thought that she had never before heard the dirge of her countiy 
so thrillingly awful. Her head fell on the armor and scarf. "Sweet 
lady," sighed she to herself, "who is it that dares thus invade thy 
duties? But my gratitude to thy once-loved lord will not offend thy 
pure spirit." Again the mournful wailings on the air; and with a 
convulsion of feelings she could not restrain, she threw herself on her 
knees, and leaning her head on the newly adorned helmet, wept 

Murray entered the room unobserved. "Helen, my dear cousin!" 
cried he. She started, and rising, apologized for her tears by owning 
the truth. He now told her that the body of Lady Marion was de- 
posited in the chapel of the castle, and that the priests from the 
adjacent priory only awaited her presence to consign it, with the 
Church's rites, to its tomb. 

Helen retired for a few minutes to recover herself, and then was 
led by her cousin to the awful scene. 

The bier lay before the altar. The prior of St. Fillan stood at its 
head ; a band of monks were ranged on each side. The maids of Lady 
Helen, in mourning garments, met their mistress at the portal. They 
had wrapped the beautiful corpse in the shroud prepared for it; and 
now having laid it, strewed with flowers, upon the bier, they advanced 
to their trembling lady, expecting her to approve their services. 
Helen drew near — she bowed to the priests and waving her hand 
to the prior to begin, the bier was lowered into the tomb beneath. As 
it descended, Helen sank upon her knees, and the anthem for departed 
souls was raised. The pealing notes, as they rose and swelled, seemed 
to bear up the spirit of the sainted Marion to its native heaven; and 
the tears which now flowed from the eyes of Helen seemed the balm 
of paradise descending upon her soul. 

When all was over, the venerable Halbert, who had concealed his 
overwhelming sorrow behind a pillar, threw himself on the cold stone 
which now closed the last chamber of his mistress. With faint cries 
he gave way to the woe that shook his aged bosom, and called on 
death to lay him low with her. The women of Lady Helen again 
chanted forth their melancholy wailings for the dead; and unable 
longer to bear the scene, she grasped the arm of her cousin, and with 
difficulty walked from the chapel. 



Having rewarded his trusty followers with their promised war- 
bonnets from the hand of Helen, and despatched them to the foot 
of Cartlane craigs, to await his arrival with the larger levy, Murray 
proceeded to the apartment of Lord Mar to inform him how far he 
had executed his commands, and to learn his future orders. He 
found the veteran earl surrounded by arms and armed men; fifty 
brave Scots, who were to lead the three hundred then on Bothwell 
moor, were receiving their spears and swords and other weapons 
from the hands of their lord. 

"Bear these stoutly, my gallant countrymen," cried he, "and re- 
member, that although the dragon of England has burnt up your 
harvests and laid your homes in ashes, there is yet a lion in Scotland 
to wither his power." 

The earl had hardly uttered those words when the double-doors 
of the apartment were abruptly opened, and all eyes were blasted by 
the sudden sight of Lord Soulis and a man in splendid English 
armor, with a train of Southron soldiers, following this recreant Scot. 

The earl started from his couch "Lord Soulis, what is the occa- 
sion of this unapprised visit?" 

"The ensign of the liege lord of Scotland is my warrant," replied 
he: "you are my prisoner, and in the name of King Edward of Eng- 
land I take possession of this castle." 

"Never!" cried the earl, "while there is a man's arm within it." 

"Man and woman," returned Lord Souhs, "must surrender to 
Edward. Three thousand English have seized three hundred of your 
insurgents on Bothwell moor. The castle is surrounded, and resist- 
ance impossible. Throw down your arms!" cried he, turning to the 
clansmen, who thronged round their chief, "or be hanged for rebellion 
against your lawful sovereign." 

"Our lawful sovereign," returned a young man who stood near 
him, "must be the enemy of Edward; and to none else will we yield 
our arms." 

"Traitor!" cried the English commander, while with a sudden 
stroke of his battle-axe he laid the bodj^ of the generous Scot a head- 



less corpse at his feet. A direful cry proceeded from his enraged 
comrades. Every sword was drawn; and before the bewildered earl 
could utter a word, he beheld his brave Scots at one moment victori- 
ous, and in the next the floor strewed with their dead bodies. A new 
succession of bloodhounds had rushed in at every door; and before 
the sword was allowed to rest, the whole of his faithful troops lay 
around him, wounded and dying. In vain his voice had called upon 
his men to surrender — in vain he had implored the iron-hearted Soulis, 
and his coadjutor Aymer de Valence, to stop the havoc of death. 

All now lay in blood; and the heat of the room, thronged by the 
victors, became so intolerable that De Valence, for his own sake, or- 
dered the earl to be removed into another apartment. 

Meanwhile, unconscious of these events, Helen had lain down 
to seek a few minutes' repose; and having watched the whole of the 
preceding night, was sunk into a profoimd sleep. 

Murray, who was present at the abrupt entrance of the enemy, 
no sooner heard them declare that the castle was surrounded by an 
army, than he foresaw all would be lost. On the instant, and before 
the dreadful signal of carnage was given in the fall of the young Scot, 
he slid behind the canopy of his uncle's couch, and lifting the arras, 
hastily made his way to the chamber of his cousin. As he hurried 
along, he heard a fearful shout. He paused for a moment, but think- 
ing it best, whatever might have happened, to secure the safety of 
Helen, he flew onward and entered her room. She lay upon the bed 
in a deep sleep. "Awake, Helen!" cried he; "for your life awake!" 

She opened her eyes; but, without allowing her time to speak, he 
hastily added. "The ca.stle is full of armed men led hither by the Eng- 
lish commander Aymer de Valence and the execrable Soulis. Unless 
you fly through the vaulted passage you will be their prisoner." 

Helen gazed at him in terror. "Where is my father? Leave him, 
I cannot." 

"Fly, in pity to your father! Oh, do not hesitate! What will be 
his anguish should you fall into the hands of the furious man whose 
love you have rejected, when it will no longer be in the power of a 
parent to presei*ve you! If you had seen Soulis's threatening 

eyes " He was interrupted by a clamor in the opposite gallery 

and the shrieks of women. Helen grasped his arm. "Alas, my poor 
damsels! I will go with you, whither you will, to be far from him." 

As Murray threw his arm about her waist, to impel her failing 
steps, his eyes fell on the banner and the suit of armor. 

"All else must be left," exclaimed he, seizing the banner; and 
hurrying Helen forward, he hastened with her down the stairs which 


led from the western watch-tower to the vaults beneath the castle. 
On entering the first cellar, to which a dim light was admitted through 
a small grating near the top, he looked round for the archway that 
contained the avenue of their release. Having descried it, and raised 
one of the large flags which paved the floor, he assisted his affrighted 
cousin down a short flight of steps into the secret passage. "This," 
whispered he, "will carry us in a direct line to the cell of the prior of 
St. Fillan's." 

"But what will become of my father and Lady IMar? This flight, 
while they are in danger! oh, I fear to complete it!" 

"Rather fear the libertine Soulis," returned Murray: "he can 
only make them prisoners; and even that injury shall be of short 
duration. I will soon join the brave Wallace, and then, my sweet 
cousin, liberty, and a happy meeting!" 

"Alas! his venerable harper," cried she, suddenly remembering 
Halbert; "should he be discovered to have belonged to Wallace, he, 
too, will be massacred by these merciless men." 

Murray stopped. "Have you courage to remain in this dark- 
ness alone? If so, I will seek him, and he shall accompany us." 

Helen had courage for an^i:hing but the dangers INIurray might 
encounter by returning into the castle; but the generous youth had 
entered too fully into her apprehensions concerning the old man to 
be withheld. "Should I be delayed in coming back," said he, "go 
forward to the end of this passage ; it will lead you to a flight of stairs ; 
ascend them; and by drawing the bolt of a door you will find yourself 
at once in the prior's cell." 

"Talk not of delay," replied Helen; "return quickly, and I will 
await you at the entrance of the passage." So saying, she swiftly re- 
traced with him her steps to the bottom of the stairs. He raised the 
flag, sprang out of the aperture, and closing it down, left her in soli- 
tude and darkness. 

INIurray passed through the first cellar, and was proceeding to 
the second when he saw the great gates open and a large party of 
English soldiers enter. They were conducted by the butler of the 
castle, who seemed to perform his office very unwillingly, while they 
crowded in, thirsty and riotous. 

Aware how unequal his single arm would be to contend with such 
numbers, Murray, at the first glance of these plunderers, retreated 
behind a heap of casks in a remote corner. While the trembling but- 
ler was loading a dozen of the men for the refreshment of their mas- 
ters above, the rest were helping themselves from the adjacent cata- 
combs. Some left the cellars with their booty, and others remained 


to drink it on the spot. Glad to escape the insults of the soldiers 
who lay wallowing in the wine, Bothwell's old servant quitted the 
cellar with the last company which bore flagons to their comrades 

Murray listened anxiously in hopes of hearing from his neighbors 
some intimation of the fate of his uncle and aunt. He hearkened in 
vain, for nothing was uttered by these intoxicated banditti but loud 
boastings of the number each had slain in the earl's apartment, exe- 
crations against the Scots for their obstinate resistance, and a thou- 
sand sanguinary wishes that the nation had but one neck to strike 
off at a blow. 

How often, during this conversation, was Murray tempted to rush 
out amongst them and seize a desperate revenge! But the thought 
of his poor cousin now awaiting his return restrained him ; and unable 
to move from his hiding-place without precipitating himself into in- 
stant death, he remained nearly an hour in the most painful anxietj^, 
watching the dropping to sleep of this horrid crew. 

When all seemed hushed — not a voice, even in a whisper, startling 
his ear — he ventured forth towards the slumbering groups. He must 
pass them to reach the private stairs. He paused and listened. Si- 
lence still reigned. He took courage, and flew with the lightness 
of air to the secret door. As he laid his hand on it, it opened from 
without, and two persons appeared. By the few rays which gleamed 
from the expiring torches of the sleepers he could see that the first 
wore English armor. Murray believed himself lost; but determined 
to sell his life dearly, he made a spring, and caught the man by the 
throat; when some one seizing his arm, exclaimed, "Stop, my Lord 
Murray! it is the faithful Grimsby." Murray let go his hold, glad 
to find that both his English friend and the venerable object of his 
solicitude were thus brought to meet him; but fearing that the violence 
of his action and Halbert's exclamation might have alarmed the 
sleeping soldiers, he laid his finger on the lip of Grimsby, and motioned 
to the astonished pair to follow him. 

As they advanced, they perceived one of the soldiers move as if 
disturbed. INIurray held his sword over the sleeping wretch, ready 
to plunge it into his heart should he attempt to rise; but he became 
still again; and the fugitives having approached the flag, Murray 
drew it up, and eager to haven his double charge he thi*ust them to- 
gether down the stairs. At that moment a shriek from Helen (who 
had discovered, by the gleam of light which burst into the vault, a 
man descending in English armor) echoed through the cellars. Two 
of the soldiers jumped upon their feet and rushed upon Murray. 


He had let the flag drop behind them; but still remaining by it, in 
case of an opportunity to escape, he received the strokes of their 
weapons upon his target, and returned them with equal rapidity. 
One assailant lay gasping at his feet, but the clashing of arms and 
the cries of the survivor had already awakened the whole crew. They 
threw themselves towards the young Scot, and would certainly have 
cut him to pieces had he not snatched the only remaining torch out of 
the hand of a staggering soldier, and extinguished it under his foot. 
Bewildered w^here to find their prey, they groped in darkness, slash- 
ing the air with their swords, and not unfrequently wounding each 
other in the vain search. 

Murray was now far from their pursuit. He had no sooner put 
out the light than he pulled up the flag, and leaping down, drew it 
after him, and found himself in safety. Desperate as was the con- 
test, it had been short, for he yet heard the footsteps of the panic- 
struck Helen flying along the passage. The Englishman and Hal- 
bert, on the first falling of the flag, not knowing its storing, had un- 
successfully tried to reraise it that they might assist Murray in the 
tumult above. On his appearing again so unexpectedly, they de- 
clared their joy; but the young lord, impatient to calm the appre- 
hensions of his cousin, returned no other answer than "Follow me!" 
while he darted forward. Terror had given her wings, and even pre- 
vented her hearing the low sounds of Murray's voice, which he durst 
not raise to a higher pitch, for fear of being overheard by the enemy. 
Thus, while she lost all presence of mind, he did not come up with her 
till she fell breathless against the stairs at the extremity of the vault. 



As soon as INIiirray found her, he clasped her insensible form to his 
breast, and carrying her up the steps, drew the bolt of the door. It 
opened to his pressure, and discovered a large monastic cell, into which 
the daylight shone through one long narrow window. A straw pallet, 
an altar, and a marble basin were the furniture. The cell was soli- 
tary, the owner being then at mass in the chapel of the monastery. 
Murray laid down his death-like binxlen on the monk's bed. He then 
ventured to throw some of the holy water upon his cousin's face, and 
by means of a little chalice which stood upon the altar he poured 
some into her mouth. At last opening her eyes, she recognized the 
figure of her young kinsman leaning over her, while Halbert stood 
at her feet. "Blessed Virgin! I am yet safe, and with my dear 
Andrew! Oh, I feared you were slain!" cried she, bursting into 

"Thank God, we are both safe," answered he; "comfort yourself, 
beloved cousin! you are now on holy ground; this is the cell of the 
prior of St. Fillan's. None but the hand of an infidel dare wrest you 
from this sanctuary." 

"But my father, and Lady Mar?" And again her tears flowed. 

"The countess, my gracious lady," answered Halbert, "since you 
could not be found in the castle, is allowed to accompany your father 
to Dumbarton castle, until De Valence receives further orders from 
King Edward." 

"But for Wallace!" cried she; "ah, where are now the succors that 
were to be sent to him? And without succors how can he, or you, 
dearest Andrew, rescue my father from this tyranny?" 

"Do not despair," replied Murray; "look but at the banner you 
held fast, even while insensible; your own hands have engraven my 
answer — God armeth the patriot! Convinced of that, can you still 
fear for your father? I will join Wallace to-morrow. Your own 
fifty warriors await me at the bottom of Cartlane craigs ; and if any 
treachery should be meditated against my uncle, that moment we will 
make the towers of Dumbarton shake to their foundation." 

Helen's reply was a deep sigh ; she thought it might be Heaven's 



will that her father, like the ^ood Lord Douglas, should fall a victim 
to royal revenge; and so sad were her forebodings that she hardly 
dared to hope what the sanguine disposition of her cousin promised. 
Grimsby now came forward, and unloosing an iron box from under 
his arm, put it into the hands of Lord JMurray. 

"This fatal treasure," said he, "was committed to my care by the 
earl, your uncle, to deliver to the prior of St. Fillan's." 

"What does it contain?" demanded Murray; "I never saw it be- 

"I know not its contents," returned the soldier; "it belongs to Sir 
Wilham Wallace." 

"Indeed!" ejaculated Helen. "If it be treasure, why was it not 
rather sent to him?" 

"But how, honest soldier," asked Murray, "did you escape with 
it, and Halbert, too? I am at a loss to conjecture." He replied 
that as soon as the English and their Scottish partizans under Lord 
Soulis had surprised the castle, he saw that his only chance of safety 
was to throw off the bonnet and plaid, and mix amongst the numerous 
soldiers who had taken possession of the gates. His armor and his 
language showed he was their countryman, and they easily believed 
that he had joined the plunderers as a volunteer from the army, 
which at a greater distance beleaguered the castle. He had no diffi- 
culty, therefore, after tlie carnage in the state apartment, to make his 
way to the bedchamber where Lord Aymer de Valence had ordered 
Lord Mar to be carried. He found the earl alone and lost in grief. 
He knew not but that his nephew, and even his daughter and wife, 
had fallen beneath the swords of the enemy. Astonished at seeing 
the soldier walking at large, he expressed his surprise with some 
suspicions. But Grimsby told him the stratagem he had used, and 
assured him Lord Andrew had not been seen since the onset. This 
information inspired the earl with a hope that his nephew might have 
escaped ; and when the soldier also said that he had seen the countess 
led by Lord Soulis across the hall towards the Lady Helen's apart- 
ments, while he overheard him promising them every respect, the 
earl seemed comforted. "But how," inquired he of Grimsby, "has 
this hard fate befallen us? Have you learnt how De Valence knew 
that I meant to take up arms for my country?" 

When the soldier was relating this part of the conference, Murray 
interrupted him with the same demand. 

"On that head I cannot fully satisfy you," replied he; "I could 
only gather from the soldiers that a sealed packet had been delivered 
to Lord Aymer de Valence late last night at Dumbarton castle. 


Soulis was then there, and he immediately set off to Glasgow for the 
followers he had left in that town. Early this morning he joined 
De Valence and his legions on Bothwell moor. The consequences 
there, you know. But thev do not end at Bothwell. The gallant 
Wallace " 

"What of him?" exclaimed Murray. 

"No harm has yet happened to him," replied Grimsby; "but at 
the same moment in which De Valence gave orders for his troops to 
march to Bothwell, he sent others to intercept that persecuted knight's 
escape from the Cartlane craigs." 

"That accursed sealed packet," cried Murray, "has been the 
traitor! Some villain in Bothwell castle must have written it. And 
if so," added he, with tremendous emphasis, "may the blast of 
slavery ever pursue him and his posterity!" 

Helen shuddered as the amen to this malediction was echoed by 
the voices of Halbert and Grimsby. The latter continued: 

"When I informed Lord Mar of these measures against Wallace, 
he expressed a hope that your first detachment to his assistance might, 
with yourself at its head, elude their vigilance and join his friend. 
This discourse reminded him of the iron box. 'It is in that closet,' 
said his lordship, pointing to an opposite door; 'take it thence, and 
buckle it to your side.' 

"I obeyed ; and he then proceeded : 'There are two passages in this 
house which lead to sanctuary. The one nearest to us is the safest 
for you. A staircase from the closet you have just left will lead you 
directly into the chaj^el. When there, hasten to the image of the 
Virgin, and slip aside the marble tablet on the back of the pedestal; 
it will admit you to a flight of steps ; descend them, and at the bottom 
you will find a door that will convey you into a range of cellars. 
Lift up the largest flagstone in the second, and you will be con- 
ducted through a dark vault to an iron door; draw the bolt, and re- 
main in the cell it will open to you, till the owner enters. He is the 
prior of St. Fillan's, and a Murray. Give him this golden cross, as 
a mark you come from me, and say it is my request that he assist you 
to gain the seashore. As for the iron box, tell him to preserve it as 
he would his life, and never to give it up but to myself, my children, 
or to Sir William Wallace, its rightful master.' " 

"Alas," cried Halbert, "that he had never been its owner! that he 
had never brought it to Ellerslie, to draw down misery on his head! 
Wherever it has been deposited, war and murder have followed. I 
tinist my dear master will never see it more." 

"He may indeed never see it more," murmured Helen. "Where 


are now my proud anticipations of freedom to Scotland? Alas, 
Andrew," said she, taking his hand and weeping over it, "I have been 
too presumptuous ; my father is a prisoner, and Sir William Wallace 
is lost!" 

"Cease, my dear Helen," cried he; "cease to distress yourself. 
Such disasters are sent as lessons, to teach us precaution, prompti- 
tude, and patience — these are the soldier's graces, my sweet cousin, 
and depend on it, I will pay them due obedience." 

"But why," asked Helen, taking comfort from the spirits of her 
cousin, — "why, my good soldier, did not my dear father take advan- 
tage of this sanctuary?" 

"I urged the earl to accompany me," returned Grimsby; "but 
he said such a proceeding would leave his wife and babes in unpro- 
tected captivity. 'No,' added he; 'I will await my fate; for the God 
of those who trust in him, knows that I do not fear.' 

"Having received such orders from the earl, I took my leave; 
and entering the chapel by the way he directed, was agreeably sur- 
prised to find Halbert, whom I supposed had fallen during the car- 
nage in the state-chamber. He was still kneeling by the tomb of his 
buried mistress. I did not take long to warn him of his danger, and 
desired him to follow me. We descended together beneath the holy 
statue, and were just emerging into the cellars when you, sir, met us 
at the entrance. 

"It was while we were yet in the chapel that I heard De Valence 
and Soulis at high words in the court-yard. The former, in a loud 
voice, gave orders that as Lady Helen Mar could nowhere be found, 
the earl and countess, with their two infant children, should not be 
separated, but be conveyed as his prisoners to Dumbarton castle." 

"That is a comfort," cried Helen; "my father will then be con- 
soled by the presence of his wife." 

"But very different would have been the case, madam, had you 
appeared," rejoined the soldier: "one of Lord de Valence's men told 
me that Lord Soulis intended to have taken you and the countess to 
Dun-glass castle, near Glasgow, while the sick earl was to have been 
carried alone to Dumbarton, and detained in solitary confinement. 
Lord Soulis was in so dreadful a rage when you could not be found, 
that he accused the English commander of having leagued with Lady 
Mar to deceive him. In the midst of this contention we descended 
into the vaults." 

Helen shuddered at the thought of how near she was to falling 
into the hands of so fierce a spirit. In his character he united every 
quality which could render power formidable, combining prodigious 


bodily strength with cruelty, dissimulation, and treachery. Helen 
iSIar had twice refused his hand: first, during the contest for the king- 
dom, when his pretended claim to the crown was disallowed. She 
was then a mere child, hardly more than fourteen; but she rejected 
him with abhorrence. Though stung to the quick at being denied the 
objects both of his love and his ambition at the same moment, he 
did not hesitate, at another period, to renew his offer to her. At the 
fall of Dunbar, as soon as he had re])eated his oaths of fidelity to 
Edward, he hastened to Thirlestane, to throw himself a second time 
at the feet of Lady Helen. Her ripened judgment confirmed her 
youthful dislike of his ruffian qualities, and again he was rejected. 

Helen knew not half the afflictions with which his resentful heart 
had meditated to subdue her ; and therefore, though she shrunk at the 
sound of a name so infamous, yet, not aware of all the evils she had 
escaped, she replied with languor, though with gratitude, to the con- 
gratulations of her cousin on her timely flight. 

At this period the door of the cell opened, and the prior entered 
from the cloisters ; he started on seeing his room filled with strangers. 
Murray took off his helmet and approached him. On recognizing 
the son of his patron the prior inquired his commands, and expressed 
some surprise that such a company, and above all a lady, could have 
passed the convent-gate without his previous notice. 

Murray pointed to the recess behind the altar, and then explained 
to the good priest the necessity which had compelled them to thus seek 
the protection of St. Fillan's. "Lady Helen," continued he, "must 
share your care until Heaven empowers the Earl of Mar to reclaim 
his daughter, and adequately reward this holy church." 

The soldier then presented the cross, with the iron box, repeating 
the message that confided them also to his keeping. 

The prior listened to these recitals with sorrowful attention. He 
had heard the noise of armed men advancing to the castle, but knowing 
that the earl was making warlike preparations, he had no suspicion 
that these were other than the Bothwell soldiers. He took the box, 
and laying it on the altar, pressed the cross to his lips. "The Earl 
of Mar shall find that fidelity here which his faith in the Church mer- 
its. That mysterious chest, to which you tell me so terrible a de- 
nunciation is annexed, shall be preserved sacred as the relics of St. 

The father then proceeded: "But for you, virtuous Southron, I 
will give you a pilgrim's habit. Travel in that privileged garb to 
Montrose, and there a brother of the Church will, by a letter from me. 


convey you in a vessel to Normandy : thence you may safety find your 
way to Guienne." 

The soldier bowed his head ; and the priest, turning to Lady Helen, 
told her that a cell should be appointed for her, and some pious woman 
brought from the adjoining hamlet to pay her due attendance. 

"As for this venerable man," continued he, "his silver hairs al- 
ready proclaim him near his heavenly country. He had best put on 
the cowl of the holy brotherhood, and in the arms of religion j-epose 

Tears started into the eyes of Halbert. "I thank you, reverend 
father; I have indeed drawn near the end of my pilgrimage. I 
accept your invitation thankfully; and, considering it a call from 
Heaven to give me rest, I welcome the day that marks the poor 
harper of Ellerslie with the sacred tonsure." 

The sound of approaching trumpets, and soon after the clattering 
of horses and the clang of armor, made an instantaneous silence in the 
cell. Helen looked fearfully at her cousin and grasped his hand; 
Murray clasped his sword with a firmer hold. "I will protect you 
with my life." He spoke in a low tone, but the soldier heard him. 
"There is no cause of alarm," rejoined he; "Lord de Valence is only 
marching by on his way to Dumbarton." 

"Alas, my poor father!" cried Helen, covering her face with her 

The venerable prior, pitying her affliction, knelt down by her. 
"My daughter, be comforted," said he; "they dare not commit any 
violence on the earl. King Edward too well understands his own 
interest to allow even a long imprisonment to so popular a nobleman." 
This assurance at length raised her head with a meek smile. 

The prior, seeing her composed, recommended leaving her to rest 
and Helen, comforted by holy meditations, allowing her cousin to 
depart, he led Murray and his companions into the convent library. 



The march of De Valence from the castle having proved that no sus- 
picion of any of its late inhabitants bein^- still in the neighborhood re- 
mained with its usurpers, Grimsby thought he might depart in safety; 
and next morning he begged permission of the prior to commence his 
journey. 'T am anxious to quit a land," said he, "where my country- 
men are committing violences which make me blush at the name of 

Murray put a purse of gold into the soldier's hand, while the 
prior covered his armor with a pilgrim's gown. Grimsby, with a re- 
spectful bow, returned the gift. "I cannot take money from you, 
my lord. But bestow on me the sword at your side, and that I will 
preserve forever." 

JMurray took it off and gave it to the soldier. "Let us exchange, 
my brave friend!" said he; "give me yours, and it shall be a memorial 
to me of having found virtue in an enemy." 

Grimsby unlocked his rude weapon in a moment, and as he put 
the hilt into the young Scot's hand a tear stood in his eye. "When 
you raise this sword against my countrymen, think on Grimsby, a 
humble soldier of the cross, and spare the blood of all who ask for 

Murray looked a gracious assent. Without speaking, he gave 
the good soldier's hand a parting grasp ; and with regret that superior 
claims called so brave a man from his side, he saw him leave the 

When the poor old harper found himself alone with Murray, he 
again gave loose to griefs. He wept like an infant ; and recounting 
the afflictions of his master, implored Murray to go without delay to 
support the now almost friendless Wallace. IMurray w^as consohng 
him with the assurance that he would set off for the mountains that 
very evening, when the prior returned to conduct Halbert to a cell 
appointed for his novitiate. 

The sorrowing domestic of Wallace being thus disposed of, the 
prior and Murray remained together, consulting on the safest means 
of passing to the Cartlane hills. A lay-brother whom the prior had 



sent in pursuit of Helen's fifty warriors, to apprise them of the Eng- 
lish being in the craigs, at this juncture entered the library. He in- 
formed the father that, secure in his religious garb, he had penetrated 
many of the Cartlane defiles, but could neither see nor hear anything 
of the party. Every glen or height was occupied by the English; 
and from a woman, of Vvhom he begged a draught of milk, he had 
learnt how closely the mountains were invested. The English com- 
mander, in his zeal to prevent provisions being conveyed to Wallace 
and his famishing garrison, had stopped a procession of monks bear- 
ing a dead body to the cave of Saint Columba. He would not allow 
them to ascend the heights until he had examined whether the bier 
really bore a corpse, or was a vehicle to carry food to the beleaguered 

In the midst of this information the prior and his friends were 
startled by a shout, and soon after a tumult of voices, in which might 
be distinguished the cry of "A gallows for the traitor!" 

"Our brave Englishman has fallen into their hands,*' cried Mur- 
ray, hastening towards the door. 

"What would you do?" interrupted the prior, holding him. 
"Your single arm could not save the soldier. The cross has more 
power; I will seek these violent men; meanwhile stay here, as you 
value the lives of all in the convent." 

Murray had now recollected himself, and acquiesced. The prior 
took the crucifix from the altar, and ordering the porter to throw 
open the great doors, he appeared before a turbulent band of sol- 
diers who were dragging a man along, fast bound with their leathern 
belts. Blood, trickling from his face, fell on the hands of the ruth- 
less wretches, who, with horrid yells, were threatening him with in- 
stant death. 

The prior, raising the cross, rushed in amongst them, and in the 
name of the blessed Son who died on that tree bade them stand. The 
soldiers trembled before the holy majesty of his figure and at his 
awful adjuration. The prior looked on the prisoner, but he did not 
see the dark locks of the Englishman ; it was the yellow hair of Scot- 
land that mingled with the blood on his forehead. 

"Whither do you hurry that wounded man?" 

"To his death," answered a surly fellow. 

"What is his offense?" 

"He is a traitor." 

"How has he proved it?" 

"He is a Scot, and he belongs to the disloyal Lord of Mar. This 
bugle, with its crowned falcon, proves it," added the Southron, hold- 


ing up the very bugle which the earl had sent by Halbert to Wallace, 
and which was ornamented with the crest of ^lar wrought in gold. 

"That this has been Lord Mar's," replied the prior, "there is no 
doubt; but may not this man have found it? Or may it not have 
been given to him by the earl before that chief incurred the dis- 
pleasure of King Edward? Unless you substantiate your charge 
against this man by a better proof than this bugle his death would be 
a murder, which the Lord of life will requite, in the perdition of your 
souls. Release, therefore, that wounded man," continued he. "Be- 
fore the altar he shall confess himself ; and if I find that he is guilty, 
I promise you, by the holy St. Fillan, to release him to your com- 
manding officer. But if he prove innocent, no monarch on earth 
shall wrest his children from the protection of the Church." 

While he spake, the men who held the prisoner let go their hold; 
and the prior, stretching out his hand to him, gave him to a party of 
monks, to conduct into the convent. Then to convince the soldiers 
that it was the man's life he sought to save, and not the spoil, he re- 
turned the golden bugle, and bade them depart in peace. 

Awed by the father's address, and satisfied with the money and 
arms of which they had rifled the stranger, the marauders retreated. 
Bursting into yeomen's houses and peasants' huts, stripping all of 
their substance who did or did not swear fealty to Edward, thus 
robbing the latter and exacting contributions from the former, they 
sped gaily on, as if murder were pastime and rapine honor. 

The prior, on returning into the convent, ordered the gates to be 
bolted. When he entered the chapter-house, finding the monks had 
already bound up the wounds of the stranger, he made a sign for 
the brethren to withdraw; and then approaching the young man, 
"My son," said he, in a mild tone, "you heard my declaration to the 
men from whom I took you. Answer me with truth, and you shall 
find that virtue or repentance have alike a refuge in the arms of the 
Church. How came you by that bugle?" 

The stranger looked steadfastly on his questioner. "You have 
saved my life, and I should be less than man could I doubt the evi- 
dence of that deed. I received the bugle from a brave Scot who dwells 
amongst the eastern mountains, and who gave it to me to assure the 
Earl of Mar that I came from him." 

The prior apprehended that it was of Wallace he spoke. "You 
come to request a military aid from the Earl of Mar," rejoined the 
father, willing to sound him before he committed Murray, by calling 
him to the conference. 

The stranger replied: "If, reverend sir, you are in the confidence 


of the good earl, pronounce but the Christian name of the man 
who charged me with the bugle, and allow me then, for his sake, to 
ask you what has indeed happened to the earl: that I was seized by 
foes, when I expected to meet with friends only. Repty to this, and 
I shall speak freely; but at present, though I would confide all of 
myself to your sacred character, yet the confidence of others is not 
mine to bestow." 

The prior being convinced by this caution that he was indeed 
speaking with some messenger from Wallace, made no hesitation 
to answer, "Your master is a knight, and a braver never drew breath 
since the time of his royal namesake, William the Lion." 

The man rose hastily from his seat, and falling on his knees before 
the prior, put his garment to his lips: "Father, I now know that I 
am with a friend of my persecuted master. But if, indeed, the situa- 
tion of Lord Mar precludes assistance from him, all hope is lost. 
The noble Wallace is penned within the hills, without any hopes of 
escape. Suffer me, then, to rejoin him immediately, that I may at 
least die with my friend." 

"Hope for a better destinj%" returned the prior; "I am a servant, 
and not to be worshiped: turn to that altar, and kneel to Him who 
can alone send the succor you need." 

The good man, thinking it was now time to call the young lord of 
Bothwell, entered the library, where Murray was anxiously awaiting 
his return. On his entrance the impatient youth eagerly exclaimed. 
"Have you rescued him?" 

"Grimsby, I hope, is far and safely on his journey," answered 
the good priest; "but the man those murderers were dragging to 
death is in the chapter-house. Follow me, and he will give you news 
of Wallace." 

Murray gladly obeyed. 

At sight of a Scottish knight m armor, the messenger of Wallace 
thought his prayers were answered, and that he saw before him the 
leader of the host which was to march to the preservation of his com- 
mander. Murray told him who he was, and learned from him in 
return that Wallace now considered himself in a state of siege; that 
the women, children, and old men with him had nothing to feed on 
but wild strawberries and bird's eggs, which they found in the hollows 
of the rocks. "To relieve them from such hard quarters, girded by 
a barrier of English soldiers," continued the narrator, "is his first 
wish; but that cannot be effected by our small number. However, 
he would make the attempt by a stratagem, could we be at all sup- 
ported by succors from the Earl of Mar." 


"My uncle's means," replied Murray, "are for a time cut off, but 
mine shall be exerted to the utmost. Did you not meet, somewhere, 
a company of Scots to the number of fifty? I sent them off yester- 
day to seek your noble chief." 

"No," rejoined the young man; "I fear they have been taken by 
the enemy; for on my way to Sir William Wallace, not knowing the 
English were so close to his sanctuary, I w^as nearly seized myself. 
I had not the good fortune to be with him when he struck the first 
blow for Scotland in the citadel of Lanark, but as soon as I heard the 
tale of his wrongs I sought my way to my friend. I found the banks 
of the Mouse occupied by the English, but exploring the passes, at 
last gained the bottom of the precipice on the top of which Wallace is 
encamped ; and as I lay among the bushes, watching an opportunity 
to ascend, I perceived two English soldiers near me. They were in 
discourse, and I overheard them say that besides Heselrigge himself 
nearly two hundred of his garrison had fallen by the hand of Wal- 
lace's men in the contention at the castle; that the tidings were sent 
to Sir Richard Arnulff, the deputy-governor of Ayr, and he had 
despatched a thousand men to surround Cartlane craigs, spies having 
given notice that they were Sir William's strongholds; and the orders 
were that he must be taken dead or alive. 

"Such was the information I brought to my gallant friend, when 
in the dead of night I mounted the rock, and calling to the Scottish 
sentinel in Gaelic, gave him my name, and was allowed to enter that 
sacred spot. Wallace welcomed his faithful Ker, and soon unfolded 
his distress and his hopes. He told me of the famine that threatened 
his little garrison; of the constant watching, day and night, neces- 
sary to prevent a surprise. But in his extremity he observed that one 
defile was thinly guarded by the enemy; probably because, as it lay 
at the bottom of a perpendicular angle of the rock, they thought 
it unattainable by the Scots. To this point, however, my dauntless 
friend turns his eyes. He would attempt it, could he procure a suf- 
ficient number of fresh men to cover the retreat of his exhausted few. 
For this purpose, as I had so lately explored the most hidden paths 
of the craigs, I volunteered to visit the Lord ISIar, and to conduct, in 
safety, any succors he might send to oiu' persecuted leader. 

"This," continued Ker, "was the errand on which I came to the 
earl. Think then my horror when in my journey I found redoubled 
legions hemming in the hills, and on advancing towards Bothwell 
castle was seized by a party of English, rifled, and declared an accom- 
plice with that nobleman, who, they said, was condemned to lose his 


"Not so bad as that, my brave Ker," cried Murray, a glow of in- 
dignation flushing his cheek; "no true Scottish blood, I trust, will 
ever stain their scaffolds; for while we have arms to wield a sword, 
he must be a fool that grounds them on any other terms than freedom 
or death." 

"Noble youth!" exclaimed the prior, "may the innocence which 
gives animation to your courage continue its moving soul! They only 
are invincible who are as ready to die as to live." 

INIurray bowed modestly, and turning to Ker, informed him, 
that since "he must abandon all hope of hearing any more of the fifty 
brave men his cousin Helen had sent to the craigs, he bethought him 
of applying to his uncle, Sir John ^lurray, who dwelt hard by, on 
his estate at Drumshargard. "It is small," said he, "and cannot afford 
many men ; but still he may spare sufficient to effect the escape of our 
commander, and that for the present will be a host." 

To accomplish his design without delay, and to avoid a surprise 
from the English lieutenant at Bothwell, JNIurray determined to take 
Ker with him; and, disguished as peasants, as soon as darkness should 
shroud their movements, proceed to Drumshargard. 



While these transactions occupied the morning, Lady Helen slept 
long and sweetly. Her exhausted frame found renovation, and she 
awoke with a heavenly calm at her heart. A cheering vision had vis- 
ited her sleeping thoughts, and a trance of happy feelings absorbed 
her senses. 

She had seen in her dream a young knight enter her cell bearing 
her father in his arms. He laid the earl down before her ; but as she 
stooped to embrace him, the knight took her by the hand, and leading 
her to the window of the apartment he smiled, and said, "Look out, 
and see how I have performed my vow." She obeyed, and saw crowds 
of rejoicing people, who at sight of the young warrior raised such a 
shout that Helen awoke. She started, she looked around — she was 
still in the narrow cell, and alone; but the rapture of beholding her 
father yet fluttered in her breast, and the touch of the warrior's hand 
seemed still warm upon hers. "Angels of rest," cried she, "I thank 
ye for this blessed vision!" 

This dream seemed prophetic. "Yes," cried she, "though thou- 
sands of Edward's soldiers surrounded my father and his friend, I 
should not despair. Thy life. O noble Wallace, was not given to be 
extinguished in an hour! Thy morn has hardly risen, the perfect 
day must come that is to prove thee the glory of Scotland!" 

Owing to the fervor of lier apostrophe, she did not observe the door 
of the cell open till the ]3rior stood before her. After expressing his 
pleasure at the renovation in her countenance, he informed her of the 
departure of the English soldier, and of the alarm which he and 
Murray had sustained for his safety, by the adventure which had 
thrown a stranger from the craigs into their protection. At the 
mention of that now momentous spot she blushed, the golden-haired 
warrior of her dream seemed ready to rise before her, and with a 
beating heart she prepared to hear some miraculous account of her 
father's rescue. 

Unconscious of what was passing in her eager mind, the prior 
proceeded to relate all that Ker had told of the extremity to which 
Wallace was reduced, and then closed his intelligence by mentioning 



the attempt which her cousin meditated to save him. The color grad- 
ually faded from the face of Helen, and sighs were her only responses 
to the observations the good priest made on the difficulty of the en- 
terprise. But when his pity for the brave men engaged in the cause 
betrayed him into expressing his fears that the patriotic zeal of Wal- 
lace would only make him and them a sacrifice, Helen looked up; 
there was inspiration in her eyes. "Father," said she, "hast thou 
not taught me that God shieldeth the patriot as well as armeth him?" 

"Daughter of heaven," replied the good prior, "you might teach 
devotion to age, and cause youth to be enamored of the graces of 

Helen, having replied to this burst from the heart of the holy 
man, begged to see her cousin before he set off on his expedition. 
The prior withdrew, and within an hour after, JMurray entered the 
apartment. Their conversation was long, and their parting full of 
interest. "When I see you again, my brave cousin, tell me that my 
father is free and his preserver safe. Your own life, dear Andrew," 
added she, as he pressed his cheek to hers, "must always be precious 
to me." 

Murray hastily withdrew, and Helen was again alone. 

The young chieftain and Ker covered their armor with shepherds' 
plaids; and having received a thousand blessings from the prior and 
Halbert, proceeded under shelter of the night through the obscurest 
paths of the wood which divided Bothwell from Drumshargard. 

Sir John INIurray was gone to rest when his nephew arrived, but 
Lord Andrew's voice being known by the porter, he was admitted 
into the house. The old knight was soon aroused, and welcomed his 
nephew with open arms, for he had feared, from the accounts brought 
by the fugitive tenants of Bothwell, that he also had been carried 
away prisoner. 

Murray now unfolded his errand: first, to obtain a band of Sir 
John's trustiest people to assist in rescuing the preserver of the earl's 
life from destruction ; and, secondly, if a commission for Lord Mar's 
release did not arrive from King Edward, to aid him to free his uncle 
and the countess from Dumbarton castle. 

Sir John listened with growing anxiety to his nephew's details. 
When he heard of Lady Helen's continuing in the convent, he highly 
approved it. "That is well," said he; "to bring her to any private 
protection would only spread calamity. She might be traced, and 
her protector put in danger; none but the Church, with safety to 
itself, can grant asylum to the daughter of a state prisoner." 

"Then I doubly rejoice she is there," replied Murray; "and there 


she will remain till your generous assistance empowers me to rescue 
her father." 

"Lord Mar has been very rash, nephew," returned Drumshargard. 
"What occasion was there for him to volunteer sending men to su}> 
port Sir William Wallace? and how durst he bring ruin on Bothwell 
castle, by collecting, unauthorized by my brother, its vassals for so 
dangerous an experiment?" 

Murray started at these unexpected observations. He knew his 
uncle was timid, but he had never suspected him of meanness; how- 
ever, he smothered his disgust, and gave him a mild answer. But 
the old man could not approve of a nobleman of his rank running him- 
self, his fortune, and his friends into peril, to pay any debt of grati- 
tude. "Trust me, Andrew," said he, "nobody profits by these notions 
but thieves, and desperate fellows ready to become thieves." 

"I do not understand you, sir." 

"Not understand me?" replied the knight, rather impatiently. 
"Who suffers in these contests for liberty, as you choose to call them, 
but such men as Lord Mar and your father? Who gains by rebellion, 
but a few penniless wretches that embrace these vaunted principles 
from the urgency of their necessities? They acquire plunder under 
the mask of disinterestedness; and hazarding nothing of themselves 
but their Avorthless lives, they w^ould throw the whole country into 
flames, that they may catch a few brands from the fire." 

Young INIurray felt his anger rise with this speech. "I do not 
come here to dispute the general evil of revolt, sir, but to ask your 
assistance to snatch two of the bravest men in Scotland from the 
tyrant who has made you a slave." 

"Nephew," cried the knight, starting from his couch and darting 
a fierce look at him, "if any man but one of my own blood had uttered 
that w^ord, this hour should have been his last!" 

"Every man, sir," continued Murray, "wdio acts upon your prin- 
ciples must know himself to be a slave; and to resent being called so, 
is to affront his own conscience. See you not the villages of your 
country burning around you? the castles of your chieftains razed to 
the ground? Did not the plains of Dunbar reek with the blood of 
your kinsmen; and even now, do you not see them led away in chains 
to the strongholds of the tyrant? And yet you exclaim, 'I see no 
injury — I spurn at the name of slave!' " 

Murray rose from his seat as he ended, and walking the room in 
agitation, did not perceiA^e the confusion of his uncle, who, at once 
overcome with conviction and with fear, again ventured to speak: 
"It is too sure you speak truth. Andrew; but what am I, cr any otiier 


private individual, that we should make ourselves a forlorn hope for 
the whole nation? Will Baliol, who was the first to bow to the 
usurper,— will he thank us for losing our heads in resentment of his 
indignity? Bruce himself, the rightful heir of the crown, leaves us to 
our fates, and has become a courtier in England. For whom, then, 
should I adventure my gray hairs to seek an uncertain liberty, and 
to meet an almost certain death?" 

"For Scotland, uncle," rephed he; "just laws are her right. Think 
not, sir, to preserve your home, or even your gray hairs, by hugging 
the chains by which you are bound. You are a Scot, and that is 
sufficient to arm the enemy against your property and life. Remem- 
ber the fate of Lord l^.Ionteith! At the very time he was beset by 
the parasites of Edward, and persuaded to be altogether as an Eng- 
lishman, in that very hour, when he had taken a niece of Cressing- 
ham's to his arms, by her hands the vengeance of Edward reached him 
—he fell!" 

Murray saw that his uncle Avas struck, and that he trembled. 

"But I am too insignificant, Andrew." 

"You are the brother of Lord Bothwell," answered Murray, with 
all the dignity of his father rising in his countenance. "His posses- 
sions made him a traitor in the eyes of the tyrant's representatives. 
Cressingham, as treasurer for the crew, has already sent his lieutenant 
to lord it in our paternal castle; and do not deceive yourself in be- 
lieving that some one of his officers will not require the fertile fields 
of Drumshargard as a reward for his services. No; cheat not your- 
self with the idea that the brother of Lord Bothwell will be too in- 
significant to bear a part in the confiscations of his country. When 
they need your wealth or your lands, your submission is forgotten, 
and a prison, or the ax, ready to give them quiet possession." 

Sir John Murray, though a narrow-sighted man, now compre- 
hended his nephew's reasoning; and his fears taking a different turn, 
he hastily declared his determination to set off immediately for the 
Highlands. "In the morning, by daybreak," said he, "I will com- 
mence my journey, and join my brother at Loch-awe; for I cannot 
believe myself safe a moment while so near the garrisons of the 

Murray approved this plan; and after obtaining his hard-wrung 
leave to take thirty men from his vassals, he returned to Ker to in- 
form him of the success of his mission. In the course of an hour he 
brought together the appointed number of the bravest men on the 
estate and when equipped, he led them into the hall to receive the last 
command from their feudal lord. 


On seeing them armed, with every man his drawn dirk in his hand, 
Sir John turned pale. Murray, with the unfolded banner of Mar 
in his grasp, and Ker by his side, stood at their head. 

"Young men," said the old knight, striving to speak in a firm 
tone, "in this expedition you are to consider yourselves the follow- 
ers of my nephew : he is brave and honorable, therefore I commit you 
to his command. But as you go on his earnest petition, I am not 
answerable to any man for the enterprises to which he may lead you." 

"Be they all on my own head!" cried Murray, drawing out his 
sword with an impatience that made the old knight start. "We now 
have your permission to depart, sir?" 

Sir John gave a ready assent: he was anxious to get so hot-headed 
a youth out of his house, and to collect his gold and servants, that he 
might commence his own flight by break of day. 

It was still dark as midnight when Murray and his little company 
passed the heights above Drumshargard, and took their rapid march 
towards the cliffs, which would conduct them to the more dangerous 
passes of the Cartlane craigs. 



Two days passed drearily away to Helen. She could not expect 
tidings from her cousin in so short a time, and anxiety to learn what 
might be the condition of the earl and countess so possessed her that 
visions of affright now disturbed both her waking and sleeping senses. 
On the morning of the third day, when she was chiding herself for 
such despondence, her attendant entered to say that a friar was come 
to conduct her where she should see messengers from Lady Mar. 
Helen lingered not a moment, but giving her hand to the good father, 
was led by him into the library, where the prior was standing between, 
two men in military habits. One wore English armor, with his visor 
closed; the other, a knight, was in tartans. The Scot presented her 
with a signet set in gold. Helen looked on it, and immediately recog- 
nized the same that her stepmother always used. 

The Scottish knight was preparing to address her when the prior 
interrupted him, and taking Lady Helen's hand made her seat her- 
self. "Compose yourself for a few minutes," said he; "this life 
hourly brings forward events to teach us to be calm, and to resign our 
wishes and our wills to the Lord." 

Helen looked fearfully in his face. "Some evil tidings are to be 
told me." The blood left her lips; it seemed leaving her heart also. 
The prior, full of compassion, hesitated to speak. The Scot abruptly 
answered her: 

"Be not alarmed, lady, your parents have fallen into humane 
hands. I am sent, under the command of this noble Southron knight, 
to conduct you to them." 

"Then my father lives! They are safe!" cried she, in a transport 
of joy. 

"He yet lives," returned the officer; "but his wounds opening 
afresh and the fatigues of his journey have so exhausted him that Lord 
Aj^ner de Valence has granted the prayers of the countess, and we 
come to take you to receive his last blessing." 

A cry of anguish burst from the heart of Lady Helen ; and falling 
into the arms of the prior, slie foimd refuge in a merciful insensibility. 
The exertions of the venerable father at last recalled her to recollec- 



tion. She rose from the bench on which he had laid her, and begged 
permission to retire for a few minutes; tears choked her further ut- 
terance; and being led out by the friar, she once more reentered her 

Lady Helen passed the moments she had requested in those duties 
which alone can give comfort to the afflicted, and rising from her 
knees, she took her mantle and veil, and sent her attendant to the 
prior to say she was ready to set out on her journey, and wished to 
receive his benediction. The venerable father, followed by Halbert, 
obeyed her summons. On seeing the poor old harper, Helen's heart 
lost some of its newly acquired composure. She held out her hand 
to him; he pressed it to his lips: "Farewell, sweetest lady! May 
the prayers of the dear saint to whose remains you gave a holy gi*ave, 
draw down upon your own head consolation!" The old man sobbed; 
and the tears of Lady Helen, as he bent upon her hand, dropped upon 
his silver hair. "May heaven hear you, good Halbert! And cease 
not, venerable man, to pray for me." 

"All that dwell in this house, my daughter," rejoined the prior, 
"shall put up orisons for your comfort and for the soul of the depart- 
ing earl." Observing that her grief augmented at these words, he 
proceeded in a yet more soothing voice: "Regret not that he goes 
before you, for what is death but entrance into life?" 

Helen raised her eyes, and with a divine smile pressing the cruci- 
fix to her breast: "You do indeed arm me, my father. This is my 

"And one that will never fail thee," exclaimed he. She dropped 
upon one knee before him. He crossed his hands over her head, he 
looked up to heaven, his lips moved; then pausing a moment: "Go," 
said he, "and may the angels which guard innocence, minister to your 

Helen bowed, and breathing a devout response, rose and fol- 
lowed the prior out of the cell. Before the great gates stood the 
knights with their attendants. She once more kissed the crucifix held 
by the prior, and giving her hand to the Scot, was placed by him on 
a horse richly caparisoned. He sprang on another himself; while 
the English officer, who was already mounted, drawing up to her, she 
pulled down her veil; and all bowing to the holy brotherhood at the 
porch, rode off at a gentle pace. 

A long stretch of woods, which spread before the monastery and 
screened the back of Bothwell castle, lay before them. Through 
this green labyrinth they pursued their way till they crossed the river. 

"Time wears," exclaimed the Scot to his companion; "we must 


push on." The English knight nodded, and set his spurs into his 
steed. The whole troop now fell into a rapid trot. 

A sweet breeze played through the valley, and revived Helen's 
harassed frame. She put aside her veil to enjoy its freshness, and 
saw that the knights turned their horses' heads into one of the obscur- 
est mountain defiles. She started at its depth, and at the gloom which 
involved its extremity. "It is our nearest path," said the Scot. 
Helen made no reply, but turning her steed also, followed him. The 
Englishman, whose voice she had not yet heard, and his attendants, 
followed likewise in file; and with difficulty the horses could make 
their way through the thicket which interlaced the pathway. 

When they had been employed for an hour in breaking their way 
through this glen, they came to a space where broader ravines opened 
before them. The Scot, taking a pass to the right, raised his bugle, 
and blew so sudden a blast that the horse on which Lady Helen sat 
took fright and began to plunge and rear. Some of the dismounted 
men, seeing her danger, seized the horse by the bridle ; while the Eng- 
lish knight, extricating her from the saddle, carried her through some 
clustering bushes, into a cave, and laid her at the feet of an armed man. 

Terrified at this extraordinary action, she started up with a shriek, 
but was at that moment enveloped in the arms of the stranger, while 
a shout of exultation resounded from the Scot who stood at the en- 
trance. "Blessed Virgin, protect me!" cried she, striving to break 
from the fierce grasp that held her. "Where am I?" looking wildly 
at the two men who had brought her. "Why am I not taken to my 

She received no answer, and both the Scot and the Englishman 
left the place. The stranger still held her locked in a grip that seemed 
of iron. In vain she struggled, in vain she called on earth and heaven 
for assistance; she was held, and still he kept silence. Exhausted 
with fruitless attempts for release, she put her hands together, and 
in a calmer tone exclaimed, "I am an unprotected woman, praying 
for your mercy ; withhold it not, for the sake of heaven and your own 

"Kneel to me then, thou siren," cried the warrior, with fierceness. 
As he spoke, he threw her upon the rocky floor. His voice echoed 
terribly in her ears; but obeying him, "Free me," cried she, "for the 
sake of my dying father!" 

"Never, till I have had my revenge!" 

At this dreadful denunciation she shuddered to the soul, but yet 
she spoke: "Surely I am mistaken for some one else! Oh, how can 
I have offended any man, to incur so cruel an outrage?" 


The warrior burst into a satanic laugh, and throwing up his visor, 
"Behold me, Helen!" cried he, grasping her clasped hands. "My 
hour is come!" 

At the sight of the face of Soulis she comprehended all her dan- 
ger, and wresting her hands from his hold, she burst through the 
bushes out of the cave. Her betrayers stood at the entrance, and 
catching her in their arms, brought her back to their lord. But it 
was an insensible form they now laid before him : overcome with horror 
her senses had fled. Short was this suspension from misery; water 
was thrown on her face, and she awoke to recollection, lying on the 
bosom of her enemy. Again she struggled, again her cries echoed 
from side to side of the cavern. "Peace!" cried the monster: "you 
cannot escape; you are now mine forever! Twice you refused to be 
my wife; you dare to despise my love and my power; now you shall 
feel my hatred and my revenge!" 

"Kill me!" cried the distracted Helen; "kill me, and I will bless 
you!" she shrieked; and as he more fiercely held her, her hand struck 
against the hilt of his dagger. In a moment she drew it ; and armed 
with the strength of outraged innocence, unwitting whether it gave 
death or not, only hoping it would release her, she struck it into his 
side. All was the action of an instant; while, as instantaneously he 
caught her wrist, and exclaiming, "Damnable traitress!" dashed her 
from him, stunned and motionless to the ground. 

The weapon had not penetrated far. But the sight of his blood, 
drawn by the hand of a woman, incensed the raging Soulis. He called 
aloud on Macgregor. The two men, who yet stood without the cave, 
reentered. They started when they saw a dagger in his hand, and 
Helen, lying apparently lifeless, with blood sprinkled on her gar- 

Macgregor, who had personated the Scottish knight, in a tremu- 
lous voice asked why he had killed the lady. 

Soulis frowned. "Here!" cried he, throwing open his vest; "this 
wound that beautiful fiend you look upon aimed at my life!" 

"My lord," said the other man, who had heard her shrieks, "I 
expected different treatment for the Earl of Mar's daughter." 

"Base Scot!" returned Soulis, "when you brought a woman into 
these wilds to me, you had no right to expect I should use her other- 
wise than as I pleased." 

"This language, Lord Soulis," rejoined the man much agitated; 
"but you mistook me — I meant not to reproach." 

" 'Tis well you did not"; and turning from him with contempt, he 
listened to Macgregor, who, stooping towards Helen, observed that 


her pulse beat. "Fool!" returned Soulis, "did you think I would 
so rashly throw away what I have been at such pains to gain? Call 
your wife: she knows how to teach these minions submission to my 

The man obeyed; and while his companion by the command of 
Soulis bound a fillet round the bleeding forehead of Helen, cut by 
the flints, the chief brought two chains, and fastening them to her 
wrists and ankles, exclaimed ^with brutal triumph, while he locked 
them on: "There, my haughty damsel! flatter not thyself that the 
arms of Soulis shall be thine only fetters." 

IMacgregor's wife entered, and promised to obey all her lord's 
injunctions. When she was left alone with the breathless body of 
Helen, water, and a few cordial drops, which she poured into the un- 
hapT^v lady's mouth, soon recalled her wretched senses. On opening 
her eyes, the sight of one of her own sex inspired her with some hope ; 
but attempting to stretch out her hands in supplication, she was 
horror-struck at finding them fastened, and at the clink of the chains 
which bound her. "Why am I thus?" demanded she of the woman; 
but suddenly recollecting having attempted to pierce Soulis with 
his own dagger, and now supposing she had slain him, she added, "Is 
liOrd Soulis killed?" 

"No," replied the woman; "my husband says he is but slightly 
hurt; and surely your fair face belies your heart, if you could intend 
the death of so loving a lord." 

"You then belong to him?" cried the wretched Helen, wringing 
her hands. "What will be my unhappy fate! Virgin of heaven, 
take me to thyself!" 

"Heaven forbid," cried the woman, "that you should pray against 
being the favorite lady of our noble chief! i\Iany around Hermitage 
castle would come hither on their hands and knees to arrive at that 

"Happiness!" cried Lady Helen, in anguish of spirit; "it can 
visit me no more till I am restored to my father, till I am released 
from the power of Soulis. Give me liberty," continued she. "Assist 
me to escape, and half the wealth of the Earl of Mar shall be your 

"Alas!" returned the woman, "my lord would burn me on the spot, 
and murder my husband, did he think I even listened to such a project. 
No, lady; you never will see your father more; for none who so enter 
my lord's Hermitage ever wish to come out again." 

"The Hermitage!" cried Helen, in augmented horror. "O Father 
^f mercy, never let me live to enter those accursed walls!" 


"They are frightful enough, to be sure," returned the woman; 
"but you, gentle lady, will be princess there, and in all things com- 
manding the heart of its lord, have rather cause to bless than to curse 
the castle of Soulis." 

"Himself and all that bears his name are accursed to me," re- 
turned Helen. "Pity me, kind creature; and if you have a daughter 
whose honor is dear to you, think you see her in me, and have com- 
passion on me." 

"Poor young soul!" cried the woman, looking at her with com- 
miseration; "I would pity you if I durst; but I repeat, my life and 
my husband's, and my children, who are now near Hermitage, would 
all be sacrificed to the rage of Lord Soulis." Helen closed her hands 
over her face in despair, and the woman went on: "And as for the 
malrtei' of your making such lamentations about your father, if he 
be as little your friend as your mother is, you have not much cause 
to grieve on that score." 

Helen started. "My mother! what of her! — Speak! tell me! It 
was indeed her signet that betrayed me into these horrors. She can- 
not have consented — speak! tell me what you would say of Lady 

Regardless of the emotion which now shook the frame of her 
auditor, the woman coolly replied she had heard from her husband, 
who was the confidential servant of Lord Soulis, that it was to Lady 
Mar he owed the knowledge of Helen being at Bothwell. The 
countess had written a letter to her cousin. Lord Buchan, who, being 
a sworn friend of England, was then with Lord de Valence at Dum- 
barton. In this epistle she intimated "her wish that Lord Buchan 
would devise a plan to surprise Bothwell castle the ensuing day, to 
prevent the departure of its armed vassals then preparing to march 
to the support of the outlaw. Sir William Wallace, who, with his 
band of robbers, was lurking about the caverns of the Cartlane 

Lady Mar begged her cousin not to appear in the affair himself, 
that she might escape the suspicions of her lord; who, she strongly 
declared, was not arming his vassals for any disloyal disposition 
towards the King of England, but solely at the instigations of Wal- 
lace. And to keep the transaction as close as possible, she proposed 
that the Lord Soulis, who she understood was then at Dumbarton, 
should take the command of two or three thousand troops, and, march- 
ing to Bothwell next morning, seize the few hundred armed Scots 
who were there, readj^ to proceed to the mountains. She ended by 
saying that her daugliter-in-law was in the castle, wliich she hoped 


would be an inducement to Soulis to ensure the Earl of Mar's safety 
for the sake of her hand as his reward. 

The greatest part of Lady Mar's injunctions could not be at- 
tended to, as Lord de Valence, as well as Soulis, was made privy to 
the secret. The English nobleman declared that he should not do 
his duty to his king if he did not head the force that went to quell so 
dangerous a conspiracy; and Soulis, eager to go at any rate, joyfully 
accepted the honor of being his companion. Lord Buchan was easity 
persuaded to the seizure of the earl's person, as De Valence flattered 
him that the king would endow him with the ]\Iar estates which 
must now be confiscated. The woman proceeded to relate how, when 
the party had executed their design at Bothwell castle, she was to 
have been taken by Soulis to his castle near Glasgow. But on that 
wily Scot not finding her, he conceived the suspicion that Lord de 
Valence had prevailed on the countess to give her up to him. He ob- 
served that the woman who could be induced to betray her daughter 
to one man, would easily be bribed to repeat the crime to another, 
and under this impression he accused the English nobleman of treach- 
ery. De Valence denied it vehemently ; a quarrel ensued ; and Soulis 
departed with a few of his followers, giving out that he was retiring 
in indignation to Dun-glass. But the fact was, he lurked about in 
Bothwell wood; and from its recesses saw Cressingham's lieutenant 
march by to take possession of the castle in the king's name. At this 
period, one of the spies Avho had been left by that chief in quest of 
news, returned with a tenant of St. Fillan's, who told Lord Soulis 
all he wanted to know, informing him that a beautiful young lady, 
who could be no other than Lady Helen Mslt, was concealed in that 

"In consequence," continued Helen's guardian, "my husband and 
the stranger, the one habited as a Scottish, and the other as an Eng- 
lish knight, set out for St. Fillan's, taking with them the signet which 
your mother had sent with her letter to the earl her cousin. They 
hoped such a pledge of their truth would ensure them credit. You 
know the tale they invented ; and its success proves my lord to be no 
bad contriver." 



Helen listened with astonishment to this story of her stepmother's 
ill-judged tenderness or cruel treachery; and remembering the threats 
which had escaped that lady in their last conversation she saw no 
reason to doubt what explained the seizure of her father, the betray- 
ing of Wallace, and her own present calamity. 

"You do not answer m-e," rejoined the woman; "but if you think 
I don't say true, Lord Souhs himself will assure you of the fact." 

"Alas, no!" returned Helen, profoundly sighing; "I believe it too 
well. I see the depth of the misery into which I am plunged. And 
yet," cried she, recollecting the imposition the men had put upon 
her — "yet I shall not be wholly so if my father lives, and was not 
in extremity." 

"If that thought gives you comfort, retain it," returned the 
woman; "the whole story of the earl's illness was an invention to bring 
you at short notice from the protection of the prior." 

"I thank thee, gracious Providence, for this comfort!" exclaimed 

Margery shook her head. "Ah, poor victim (thought she), how 
vain is thy devotion!" But she had not time to say so, for her hus- 
band and the deserter from Cressingham reentered the cave. Helen-, 
afraid that it was Soulis, started up. The stranger proceeded to lift 
her in his arms. She struggled, and in the violence of her action 
struck his beaver; it opened, and discovered a pale and stern coun- 
tenance with a large scar across his jaw. This mark of contest and 
the gloomy scowl of his eyes made Helen rush towards the woman 
for protection. The man hastily closed his helmet, and speaking 
through the clasped steel, bade her prepare to accompany Lord Soulis 
in a journey to the south. 

Helen looked at her shackled arms, and despairing of effecting her 
escape by any effort of her own, she thought that gaining time might 
be some advantage; and allowing the man to take her hand, while 
Macgregor supported her on the other side, they led her out of the 
cave. She observed the latter smile significantly at his wife. "Oh !" 
cried she, "to what am I betrayed? Unhand me — leave me!" Almost 
fainting with dread she leaned against the arm of the stranger. 



At that moment Soulis, mounted on his steed, approached and 
ordered her to be put into the litter. Incapable of contending with 
the numbers which surrounded her, she allowed them to execute their 
master's commands. Macgregor's wife was set on a pillion behind 
him, and Soulis giving the word, they all marched on at a rapid pace. 

A dismal hue now overspread the country; the thunder roared in 
distant peals, and the lightning came down in such sheets that the 
carriers were often obliged to cover their eyes to regain their sight. 
A shrill wind pierced the slight covering of the litter, and blowing it 
aside, discovered at intervals the rough outlines of the distant hills 
visible through the mist. 

The cavalcade with difficulty mounted the steps of a hill, where 
the storm raged so turbulently that the men who carried the litter 
stopped and told their lord it would be impossible to proceed in the 
approaching darkness; they conjured him to look at the perpendicular 
rocks; to observe the overwhelming gusts of the tempest; and then 
judge whether they dare venture with the litter on so dangerous a 
pathway, made slippery by descending rain. 

To halt in such a spot seemed to Soulis as unsafe as to proceed. 
"We shall not be better off," answered he, "should we attempt to 
return : precipices lie on either side ; and to stand still would be equally 

On the remonstrance of their master the men resumed their pace, 
and after hard contention with the storm they gained the summit of 
the west side of the mountain, and were descending its eastern brow 
when the shades of night closed in upon them. Looking down into 
the black chaos on the brink of which they must pass along, they 
once more protested they could not advance a foot until the dawn 
should give them some security. 

At this declaration, which Soulis saw could not now be disputed, 
he ordered the troop to halt under the shelter of a projecting rock. 
Its huge arch overhung the ledge that formed the road, while the 
deep gulf at his feet, by the roaring of its waters, proclaimed itself 
the receptacle of those cataracts which rush tremendous from the 
Pentland hills. 

Soulis dismounted. The men set down the litter, and removed to 
a distance as he approached. He opened one of the curtains, and 
throwing himself beside the exhausted but watchful Helen, clasped 
his arms roughly about her. Ten thousand strengths seemed then 
to heave him from her heart ; and struggling with a power that amazed 
even herself, she threw him from her, and holding him off with her 
shackled arms, her shrieks again pierced the heavens. 


At that moment her couch was shaken by a sudden shock, and 
in the next she was covered with the blood of Souhs. A stroke from 
an unseen arm had reached him, and starting on his feet, a fearful 
battle of swords took place over the prostrate Helen. 

One of the men who hastened to the assistance of their master, 
fell dead on her body; while the chief himself, sorely wounded, and 
breathing revenge, was forced off by the survivors. "Where do you 
carry me, villains?" cried he. "Se])arate me not from the vengeance 
I will yet hurl on that demon who has robbed me of my victim." 
He raved, but more unheeded than the tempest ; in spite of his threats 
the men carried him to a distant hollow in the rock, and laid him down, 
now insensible from loss of blood. One or two of the most desperate 
returned to see what was become of Lady Helen, well aware that 
if they could regain her, their master would be satisfied; but, should 
she be lost, the whole troop knew their fate would be some merciless 

Macgregor and the deserter of Cressingham were the first who 
reached the spot where the lady had been left. With horror they 
found the litter, but not herself. ' She was gone ; but whether carried 
off by the mysterious arm which had felled their lord or she had thrown 
herself into the foaming gulf beneath they could not determine. They 
decided, however, the latter should be their report to Soulis, knowing 
he would rather believe she had perished than that she had escaped 
his toils. 

Almost stupefied with consternation, they returned to repeat this 
tale to their furious lord, who, on having his wounds stanched, had 
recovered from his swoon. On hearing that the beautiful creature 
he had so lately believed his own was lost to him forever, swallowed 
up in the whelming wave, he became frantic. He raved, tore up 
the earth like a wild beast, and, foaming at the mouth, dashed the 
wife of Macgregor from him, as she approached with a balsam for 
his wounds. "Off!" cried he. "Where is she whom I intrusted to 
thy care?" 

"My lord," answered the affrighted woman, "you know best. 
You terrified the poor young creature. You forced yourself into 
her litter, and can you wonder " 

"That I should force you to perdition, execrable witch," cried 
he, "that knew no better how to prepare a slave to receive her lord!" 
As he spoke he struck her again; but it was with his gauntlet hand, 
and the eyes of the unfortunate woman opened no more. The blow 
fell on her temple, and a motionless corpse lay before him. 

"My wife !" cried the poor Macgregor, putting his trembling arms 


about her neck. "Oh, my lord, how have I deserved this? You have 
slain her!" 

"Suppose I have?" returned the chief with a cold scorn; "she 
was old and ugly; and could you recover Helen, I would find you a 

Macgregor made no reply, but feeling in his heart that such were 
the rewards from villainy to its vile instruments, he could not but 
say to himself, "I deserved it of my God, but not of thee"; and 
sobbing over the remains of his equally criminal wife, he removed her 
from the now hated presence of his lord. 



Meanwhile the Lady Helen, hardly rational from the horror and 
hope that agitated her, extricated herself from the dead body, and 
in her eagerness to escape would certainly have fallen over the preci- 
pice had not the same gallant arm which had covered her persecutor 
with wounds caught her as she sprang from the litter. "Fear not, 
lady," exclaimed a gentle voice; "you are under the protection of a 
Scottish knight." 

There was a kindness in the sound that seemed to proclaim the 
speaker to be of her own kindred ; she felt as if suddenly rescued by 
a brother, and dropping her head on his bosom, a shower of grateful 
tears reheved her heart. Aware that the enemy might soon be on 
him again, he clasped her in his arms, and with the activity of a moun- 
tain deer crossed two rushing streams, leaping from rock to rock, and 
then treading with a light and steady step a bridge of one single tree 
which arched the cataract below, he reached the opposite side, where, 
spreading his plaid upon the rock, he laid the trembling Helen upon 
it. Then softly breathing his bugle, in a moment he was surrounded 
by a number of men, whose rough gratulations might have reawakened 
the alarm of Helen, had she not still heard his voice. There was 
graciousness in every tone, and she listened in calm expectation. 

He directed the men to take their axes and cut away, on their side 
of the fall, the tree which arched it. It was probable the villain 
he had just assailed, or his followers, might pursue him, and he thought 
it prudent to demolish the bridge. 

The men obeyed, and the warrior returned to his fair charge. It 
was raining fast, and he proposed leading her to shelter. "There is 
a hermit's cell on the northern side of this mountain. I will conduct 
you thither in the morning, but meanwhile we must seek a nearer 

"Anywhere, sir, with honor my guide," answered Helen, timidly. 

"You are safe with me, lady," returned he, "as in the arms of 
the Virgin. Whoever you are, confide in me, and you shall not be 

Helen confidently gave him her hand and strove to rise; but at 



the first attempt, the shackles piercing her ankles, she sank again 
to the ground. The cold iron on her wrists touched the hand of her 
preserver. He now recollected his surprise on hearing the clank 
of chains when carrying her over the bridge. "Who," inquired he, 
"could have done this unmanly deed?" 

"The wretch from whom you rescued me, to prevent my escape 
from a captivity worse than death." 

While she spoke he wrenched open the manacles from her wrists 
and ankles and threw them over the precipice. As she heard them 
dash into the torrent, gratitude filled her heart; and again giving her 
hand to him, she said with earnestness, "Oh, sir, if you have a wife 
or sister, should they ever fall into the like peril with mine, may 
Heaven reward you by sending them such a preserver!" 

The stranger sighed deeply. "Sweet lady," returned he, "I have 
no sister, no wife, but I thank thee for thy prayer." He sighed 
profoundly again, and led her silently down the windings of the 
declivity whence they descended into a wooded dell, and soon ap- 
proached the half-standing remains of what had once been a shepherd's 

"This," said the knight, as they entered, "was the habitation of 
a good old man who fed his flock on these mountains; but a band 
of Southron soldiers forced his only daughter from him, and, plun- 
dering his little abode, drove him out upon the waste. He perished 
the same night, by grief and the inclemencies of the weather. His son, 
a brave youth, was left for dead; but I found him in this dreary soli- 
tude, and he told me the story of his despair. Indeed, lady, when I 
heard your shrieks from the opposite side of the chasm, I thought they 
might proceed from this poor boy's sister, and I flew to restore them 
to each other." 

Helen shuddered as he related a tale so nearly resembling her 
own ; and trembling with horror of what might have been her fate had 
she not been rescued, she sank exhausted upon a turf seat. The chief 
still held her hand. It was very cold, and he called to his men to 
seek fuel to make a fire. While his messengers were exploring the 
crannies of the rocks for dried leaves and sticks, Helen, totally over- 
come, leaned almost motionless against the wall of the hut. Finding 
by her shortening breath that she was fainting, the knight took her 
in his arms, and supporting her on his breast, chafed her hands and 
her forehead. Alarmed at such signs of death, he spoke to one of 
his men who remained in the hut. 

The man answered his master's inquiry by putting a flask into 
his hand. The knight poured some of its contents into her mouth. 


Her streaming locks wetted his cheek. "Poor lady!" said he; "she 
will perish in these forlorn regions, where neither warmth nor nour- 
ishment can be found." 

Several of his men soon after entered with a quantity of boughs, 
which they had found in the fissures of the rock at some distance. 
With these a fire was speedily kindled; and its blaze diffusing com- 
fort through the chamber, he had the satisfaction of hearing a sigh 
from his charge. Her head still leaned on his bosom when she 
opened her eyes. 

"Lady," said he, "I bless God you are revived." Raising her- 
self, she thanked him, and requested a little water which was given 
to her. She drank some, and would have met the compassionate 
gaze of the knight had not weakness cast such a film before her eyes 
that she scarcely saw anything. Being still languid, she leaned her 
liead on the turf seat. Her face was pale as marble, and her long 
hair, saturated with wet, by its darkness made her look of a more 
deadly hue. 

"Death, how lovely canst thou be!" sighed the knight to himself. 
Helen started, and looked around her with alarm. "Fear not," said 
he, "I only dreaded your pale looks; but you revive, and will yet bless 
all that are dear to you. Suffer me, sweet lady, to drain the danger- 
ous wet from these tresses." He took hold of them as he spoke. 
She saw the water running from her hair over his hands, and allowing 
his kind request, he continued wiping her glossy locks with his scarf, 
till, exhausted by fatigue, she gradually sank into a profound sleep. 

Dawn had penetrated the ruined walls of the hut before Lady 
Helen awoke, and opening her eyes, she turned her head, and fixed 
them upon the figure of the knight who was seated near her. His 
noble air and the pensive expression of his fine features struck like a 
spell upon her gathering recollections; she at once remembered all 
she had suffered, all that she owed to him. She moved. Her pre- 
server turned his eyes towards her ; seeing she was awake, he rose from 
the side of the embers he had kept alive during her slumber, and 
expressed his hopes that she felt restored. She returned him a grate- 
ful reply; and he quitted her, to rouse his men for their journey to 
the hermit's cell. 

When he reentered, he found Helen braiding up the fine hair 
which had so lately been scattered by the elements. She would have 
risen at his approach, but he seated himself on a stone at her feet. 
"We shall be detained here a few minutes longer," said he; "I have 
ordered my men to make a litter of crossed branches, to bear you on 
their shoulders. You would not be equal to the toil of descending 


these heights to the glen of stones. The venerable man who inhabits 
there will protect you until he can summon your family, or friends, 
to receive his charge." 

At these words, which Helen thought were meant to reprove her 
for not having revealed herself, she blushed ; but fearful of breathing 
a name under the interdict of the English governors, fearful of in- 
volving her preserver's safety, by making him aware of the persecuted 
creature he had rescued, she paused for a moment, and then replied :( 
"For your humanity, brave sir, shown this night to a friendless woman, 
I must be ever grateful, but not even to the hermit may I reveal my 
name. It is fraught with danger to every honest Scot who should 
know that he protects one who bears it, and therefore, least of all, 
noble stranger, would I breathe it to you." 

The knight looked at her intensely, profoundly sighed, and tore 
his eyes from her countenance. "I ask not, madam, to know what 
you think proper to conceal. But danger has no alarms for me, 
when, by incurring it, I serve those who need a protector." 

A sudden thought flashed across her mind: might it not be pos- 
sible that this tender guardian of her safety was the noble Wallace? 
But the vain idea fled. He was pent up amidst the Cartlane craigs, 
sworn to extricate the helpless families of his followers or to perish 
with them. This knight was accompanied by none but men, and his 
eyes shone in too serene a luster to be those of the suffering chief of 
Ellerslie. "Ah! then," murmured she to herself, "are there two men 
in Scotland who will speak thus?" She looked up in his face. The 
plu^iies of his bonnet shaded his features, but she saw they were paler 
than on his entrance. His eyes were bent to the ground as he 
proceeded : 

"I am the servant of my fellow-creatures — command me and my 
few faithful followers ; and if it be in the power of such small means 
to succor you or yours, I am ready to answer for their obedience. If 
the villain from whom I had the happiness to release you be yet more 
deeply implicated in your sorrows, tell me how they can be relieved, 
and I will attempt it. I shall make no new enemies by the deed, 
for the Southrons and I are at eternal enmity." 

Helen could not withdraw her eyes from his countenance. "Alas!" 
replied she, "ill should I repay such nobleness were I to involve it in 
the calamities of my house. No, generous stranger, I must remain 
unknown. Leave me with the hermit, and from his cell I will send 
to some relation to take me thence." 

I urge you no more, gentle lady," replied the knight, rising. 
"Were I at the head of an army instead of a handful of men, I might 


then have a better argument for offering my ser\'ices; but as it is, 
I feel my weakness and seek to know no further." 

Helen trembled with emotion. "Were you at the head of an 
army I might then dare to reveal the full weight of my anxieties; but 
Heaven has already been sufficiently gracious to me in redeeming 
me from my crudest enemy." At this moment a man entered and 
told the knight the vehicle was finished, the morning fine, and his men 
ready to march. He turned towards Helen: "May I conduct you to 
the rude carriage we have prepared?" 

Helen gathered her mantle about her; and the knight throwing 
his scarf over her head, she gave him her hand, and he led her out 
of the hut to the side of the bier. It was overlaid with the men's 
plaids. The knight placed her on it; and the carriers raising it on 
their shoulders, her deliverer led the way, and they took their course 
down the mountain. 



They proceeded in silence through the curvings of the dell till it 
opened into a path along the top of a cliff, which overhung the M^est- 
ern side of a deep loch. As they mounted the wall of this immense 
amphitheater, Helen watched the sublime uprise of the king of light, 
issuing from behind the opposite citadel of rocks and borne aloft on 
a throne of clouds that swam in floating gold. The herbage on the 
cliffs glittered with liquid emeralds as his beams kissed their summits, 
and the lake beneath sparkled like a sea of molten diamonds. 

As she watched her eyes fell on the noble mien of the knight, who, 
with his spear in his hand and wrapped in his dark mantle of mingled 
greens, led the way with a rapid step along the shelving declivity. 
Turning suddenly to the left, he struck into a defile between two 
craggy moimtains, whose brown cheeks trickling with ten thousand 
rills seemed to weep over the gloom of the valley beneath. 

As they advanced the vale gradually narrowed, and at last shut 
them within an immense chasm which seemed to have been cleft at 
its towering summit to admit a few beams of light to the desert below. 
The men who carried Helen, with some difficulty foimd a safe footing. 
However, after frequent rests and unremitted caution they at last 
were able to follow their chief into a less gloomy part of this chaos 
of nature. The knight stopped and approaching the bier told Helen 
they had arrived at the end of their journey. 

"In the heart of that cliff," said he, "ij the hermit's cell; a deso- 
late shelter, but a safe one. Old age and poverty hold no temptations 
to the enemies of Scotland." 

As he spoke, the venerable man who had heard voices beneath 
appeared on the rock; and while his tall and majestic figure, clad in 
gray, moved forward, he seemed the bard of INIorven issuing from 
his cave of shells to bid a hero's welcome to the young and warlike 

"Bless thee, my son!" cried he, as he descended; "what accident 
hath returned thee so soon to these solitudes?" 

The knight related the circumstances of Helen's rescue,, and that 
he had brought her to share his asylum. 



The hermit took her by the hand, and promised her every service 
in his power. He then preceded the knight, whose firmer arm sup- 
ported her up the rock, to the outer apartment of the cell. 

A sacred awe struck her as she entered tliis place, dedicated wholly 
to God. She bowed and crossed herself. The hermit, observing her 
devotion, blessed her and bade her welcome to the abode of peace. 

"Here, daughter," said he, "has one son of persecuted Scotland 
found a refuge. The green herb is all the food these wilds afford, and 
the limpid water their best beverage." 

"Ah!" returned Helen, "would to Heaven that all who love the 
freedom of Scotland were now within this glen! The herb and the 
stream would be luxuries when tasted in liberty and hope. My 

father " she stopped, recollecting that she had almost betrayed 

the secrecy she meant to maintain, and looking down, remained in 
confused silence. The knight gazed at her and wished to penetrate 
what she concealed, but delicacy forbade him to urge her again. He 
spoke not; but the hermit, ignorant of her reluctance to reveal her 
family, resumed: 

"I do not wonder, gentle lady, that you speak in terms which tell 
me even your tender sex feels the tyranny of Edward. Who in 
Scotland is exempt? Six months ago I was abbot of Scone. Be- 
cause I refused to betray my trust, and resign the archives of the 
kingdom lodged there, Edward, the profaner of the sanctuary, sent 
his emissaries to sack the convent, and to wrest from my grasp the 
records I refused to deliver. Most of my brethren were slain. My- 
self and the remainder were turned out upon the waste. We retired 
to the monastery of Cambus-kenneth ; but there oppression found us. 
Cressingham, having seized on other religious houses, determined to 
swell his hoards with the plunder of that also. In the dead of night 
the attack was made. I knew not whither to go, but I took my course 
over the hills ; and finding the valley of stones fit for my purpose, for 
two months have lived alone in this wilderness." 

"Unhappy Scotland!" ejaculated Helen. Her eyes had followed 
the chief, who, during this narrative, leaned thoughtfully against the 
entrance of the cave. He turned and approached her. "You hear 
from the lips of my venerable friend," said he, "a direful story; hapnv 
then am I, gentle lady, that you and he have found a refuge, though 
a rough one. I must now tear myself from this tranquillity to seek 
scenes more befitting a younger son of the country he deplores." 

Helen felt unable to answer. But the abbot spoke: "And am 
I not to see you again?" 

"That is as Heaven wills," replied he; "but as it is unlikely on this 


side the grave, my best pledge of friendship is this lady. To you she 
may reveal what she has withheld from me; but in either case, she is 
secure in your goodness." 

"Rely on my faith, my son; and may the Almighty's shield hang 
on your steps!" 

The knight turned to Helen: "Farewell, sweet lady!" said he. 
She trembled at the words, and held out her hand to him. He took 
it and drew it towards his lips, but checking himself, he only pressed 
it, saying, "In your prayer, sometimes i^member the most desolate 
of men." 

A mist seemed to pass over the eyes of Lady Helen! "My 
prayers for my own preserver and for my father's," cried she in an 
agitated voice, "shall ever be mingled. And if ever it be safe to re- 
member me, — should Heaven indeed arm the patiiot's hand, — then 
mv father may be proud to know and to thank the brave deliverer 
of his child." 

The knight paused, and looked with animation upon her. "Then 
your father is in arms, and against the tyrant. Tell me where, and 
you see before you a man who is ready to join him and to lay down 
his life in the just cause." 

At this declaration Lady Helen's full heart overflowed and she 
burst into tears. He drew towards her and continued: "My men, 
though few, are brave. They are devoted to their country, and are 
willing for her sake to follow me to victory or to death. As I am a 
knight, I am sworn to defend the cause of right; and where shall 1 
so justly find it as on the side of bleeding Scotland? Speak, gentle 
lady! trust me with your noble father's name, and he shall not have 
cause to blame your confidence." 

"My father," replied Helen, "is not where your generous service 
can reach him. Two brave chiefs, one a kinsman of my own and 
the other his friend, are now colleagued to free him. If they fail, 
my whole house falls in blood ; and to add another victim to the des- 
tiny which in that case will overwhelm me — ^the thought is beyond 
my strength." She stopped, and then added in a suppressed voice, 

"Not till you hear me further," replied he. "I repeat, I have 
now a scanty number of followers, but I leave these mountains to 
gather more. Tell me, then, where I may join these chiefs you 
speak of; give me a pledge that I come from you; and whoever may 
be your father, as he is a true Scot, I will compass his release or 
perish in the attempt." 

Copyright hij Charles !Scrihner's Sous 

Helen descends the Glen of Stones 


"Alas! generous stranger," cried she, "to what would you per- 
isuade me? You know not the peril that you ask." 

"Nothing is perilous to me," replied he, with a heroic smile, "that 
is to serve my country. I have no joy but in her. Give me, then, 
the only happiness of which I am now capable, and send me to serve 
her by freeing one of her defenders." 

Helen hesitated. She looked up with inward agitations painted 
on her cheeks. 

"Fear not, lady," said the hermit, "that you would plunge your 
deliverer into any danger by involving him in what you might call 
rebellion against the usurper. He is already a proscribed man." 

"Proscribed!" repeated she; "wretched indeed is my country when 
her noblest spirits are denied the right to live." 

"No country is wretched, sweet lady," returned the knight, "till 
it consents to its own slavery. Bonds and death are the utmost of 
our enemy's malice : the one is beyond his power to inflict, when a man 
is determined to die or to live free; and for the other, which of us will 
think that ruin which leads to the blessed freedom of paradise?" 

Helen looked on the chief as she used to look on her cousin when 
expressions of virtuous enthusiasm burst from his lips. "You would 
teach confidence to Despair herself," returned she; "again I hope, 
for God does not create in vain. You shall know my father; but 
first, let me apprise you of every danger with which that knowledge 
is surrounded. He is hemmed in by enemies. Not the English 
only, but the most powerful of his own countrymen, are leagued 
against him. They sold my father to captivity, and perhaps to death; 
and I, wretched I, was the price. To free him the noblest of Scottish 
knights is now engaged ; but such hosts impede him, that hope hardly 
dares hover over his path." 

"Then," cried the stranger, "let my arm be second to his in the 
great achievement. My heart yearns to meet a brother in arms who 
feels for Scotland what I do; and with such a coadjutor I dare prom- 
ise your father liberty, and that the power of England shall be 

Helen's heart beat violently at these words. "I would not defer 
the union of two such minds. Go, then, to the Cartlane craigs. But, 
alas, how can I direct you?" cried she; "the passes are beset with Eng- 
lish, and I know not whether at this moment the brave Wallace sur- 
vives to be again the deliverer of my father." 

Helen paused. The recollection of all that Wallace had suffered 
for the sake of her father, and of the mortal extremity in which Ker 
had left him. rose like a dreadful train of apparitions before her, and, 


lost in these remembrances, she did not remark the start and rushing 
color of the knight as she pronounced the name of Wallace. 

"If Wallace ever had tlie happiness of serving any who belonged 
to you," returned the knight, "he has at least one source of pleasure 
in that remem_b ranee. Tell me what he can further do? Only say, 
w^iere is that father whom you say he once preserved, and I will 
hasten to yield my feeble aid to repeat the service." 

"Alas!" replied Helen, "I cannot but repeat my fears that the 
bravest of men no longer exists. Two days before I was betrayed 
into the hands of the traitor from whom you rescued me, a messen- 
ger from Cartlane craigs informed my cousin that the gallant Wal- 
lace was surrounded, and if my father did not send his forces to re- 
lieve him, he must inevitably perish. No forces could my father 
send ; he was then made a prisoner by the English, his retainers shared 
the same fate, and none but my cousin escaped to accompany the 
honest Scot back to his master. JNIy cousin set forth with a few 
followers to join him — a few against thousands." 

"They are in arms for their country, lady," returned the knight, 
"and a thousand angels guard them; fear not for them. But for 
your father, name to me the place of his confinement, and as I have 
not the besiegers of Cartlane craigs to encounter, I engage, with 
God's help and the arms of my men, to set the brave earl free." 

"How?" exclaimed Helen, remembering that she had not yet 
mentioned her father's rank, and gazing at him with astonishment. 
"Do you know his name? is the misfortune of my father already so 
far spread?" 

"Rather say his virtue, lady," answered the knight; "no man 
who watches over the destiny of our devoted country can be ignorant 
of her friends. I know that the Earl of Mar has made himself a 
generous sacrifice, but I am yet to learn the circumstances from you. 
Speak without reserve, that I ma}^ seek the accomplishment of my 
vow, and restore to Scotland its best friend." 

"Thou brother in heart to the generous Wallace!" exclaimed Lady 
Helen, "my voice is feeble to thank thee." The hermit, who had 
listened in silent interest, now presented her with a cup of water and 
a little fruit to refresh herself before she satisfied the inquiries of 
the knight. She put the cup to her lips, and turning to the knight she 
briefly related what had been the design of her father with regard to 
Sir William Wallace; how he had been seized at Bothwell, and sent 
with his family a prisoner to Dumbarton castle. 

"Proceed, then, thither," continued she. "If Heaven have yet 
spared the lives of Wallace and my cousin Andrew Murray, you 


will meet them before its walls. Meanwhile I shall seek the protec- 
tion of my father's sister, and in her castle near the Forth abide in 
safety. But, noble stranger, one bond I must lay upon you : should 
you come up with my cousin, do not discover that you have met with 
me. His hatred is so hot against Soulis, my betrayer, that should 
he know the outrage I have sustained, he would, I fear, run himself 
and the general cause into danger by seeking an immediate revenge." 

The stranger readily passed his word to Helen that he would 
never mention her name until she herself should give him leave. "But 
when your father is restored to his rights," continued he, "in his 
presence I hope to claim my acquaintance with his admirable 

Helen blushed at this compliment : it was not more than any man 
in his situation might have said, but it confused her, and she an- 
swered, "His personal freedom may be effected ; and God grant such 
a reward to your prowess! But his other rights, M'hat can recover 
them? His estates sequestrated, his vassals in bonds; all power of 
the Earl of Mar will be annihilated, and from some obscure refuge 
like this must he utter his thanks to his daughter's preserver." 

"Not so, lady," replied he; "the sword is now raised in Scotland 
that cannot be laid down till it be broken or have conquered. All 
have suffered by Edward, both the powerful and the poor, and when 
a whole people take up arms to regain their rights, what force can 
prevent restitution?" 

"So I felt," returned Helen, "while I had not yet seen the horrors 
of the contest. But now, when all whom my father commanded are 
slain or carried away by the enemy; when he is himself a prisoner, and 
awaiting the sentence of the tyrant he opposed; when the gallant 
Wallace, instead of being able to hasten to his rescue, is besieged by a 
numberless host, — hope almost dies within me." 

She turned pale as she spoke, and the stranger resumed: "Lady, 
if there be that virtue in Scotland which can alone deserve freedom, 
it will be achieved. Relying on the God of Justice, I promise you 
your father's liberty; and I now go to rouse a few brave spirits to 
arms. Remember, the battle is not to the strong, nor victory with a 
multitude of hosts." 

\v^hile he yet spoke, the hermit reentered from the inner cell, 
supporting a youth on his arm. At sight of the knight, who held out 
his hand to him, he dropped on his knees and burst into tears. "Do 
you, then, leave me?" cried he. "Am I not to serve my preserver?" 

Helen rose in strange surprise ; there was something in the feelings 
of the boy that was infectious; and while her own heart beat violently. 


she looked first on his emaciated figure, and then at the noble con- 
tour of the knight, "where every god had seemed to set his seal." 
Turning from the supphant boy to Helen, "Rise," said he to the 
youth, "and behold in this lady the object of the service to which I 
appoint you. You will soon, I hope, be sufficiently recovered to at- 
tend upon her wishes. Be her servant and her guard; and when we 
meet again, as she will then be under the protection of her father, if 
you do not prefer so gentle a service before the rougher one of war, 
T will resume you to myself." 

The youth, who had obeyed the knight and risen, bowed respect- 
fully; and Helen, uttering some words of thanks to hide her agitation, 
turned away. The hermit exclaimed, "Again, my son, I beseech 
Heaven to bless thee!" 

"And may its guardian care shield all here!" replied the knight. 
Helen looked up to bid him a last farewell — but he was gone. The 
hermit had left the cell with him, and the youth also had disappeared 
into the inner cave. Being left alone, she threw herself down before 
the altar, and inwardly implored protection for that brave knight's 
life, and by his means to grant safety to Wallace and freedom to 
her father. 

As she rose, she perceived the hermit, who, on entering, had ob- 
served her devout position, and a benediction broke from his lips. 
"Daughter," said he, leading her to a seat, "this hero will prevail, 
for the Power before whose altar you have just knelt has declared, 
'My might is with them who obey my laws and put their trust in me.' 
You speak highly of the valiant Sir William Wallace, but I cannot 
conceive that he can be better formed for heroic deeds than this chief. 
Suppose them, then, to be equal; when they have met, with two such 
leaders, what may not a few determined Scots perform?" 

Helen sympathized with the hopes of the hermit, and wishing to 
learn the name of this rival of a character she had regarded as un- 
paralleled, she asked with a blush by what title she must call the 
knight who had undertaken so hazardous an enterprise for her. 


THE hermit's cell. 

"I KNOW not," returned the hermit. "I never saw your gallant de- 
liverer before yesterday morning. Broken from my matins by a 
sudden noise, I beheld a deer rush down the precipice and fall head- 
long. As he lay struggling amongst the stones at the entrance of 
my cave, I had just observed an arrow in his side, when a shout issued 
from the rocks above, and looking up I beheld a young chieftain, with 
a bow in his hand, leaping from cHff to cliff, till springing from a 
high projection on the right he lit at once at the head of the wounded 

"I emerged from the recess that concealed me, and addressed him 
with the benediction of the morning. His plaided followers immedi- 
ately appeared, and with a stroke of their ready weapons slew th^ 
animal. The chief left them to dress it for their own refreshment, 
and on my invitation entered the cell to share a hermit's fare. 

"I told him who I was, and what had driven me to this seclusion. 
In return, he informed me of a design he had conceived to stimulate 
the surrounding chiefs to some exertions for their country; but as 
he never mentioned his name, I concluded he wished it to remain 
unrevealed, and therefore I forbore to inquire it. The arguments he 
means to use to arouse the slumbering courage of our country are 
few and conclusive. They are these: the perfidy of King Edward, 
who, deemed a prince of high honor, had been chosen umpire in the 
cause of Bruce and Baliol. He accepted the task in the character of 
a friend to Scotland; but no sooner was she advanced into the heart 
of our kingdom, and at the head of the large army he had treacherously 
introduced, than he declared the act of judgment was his right, as 
liege lord of the realm. This falsehood, which our records disproved 
at the outset, was not his only baseness: he bought the conscience of 
Baliol, and adjudged to him the throne. The recreant prince ac- 
knowledged him his master, and in that degrading ceremony of 
homage he was followed by almost all the lowland Scottish lords. 
But this vile yielding did not purchase them peace; Edward demanded 
oppressive services from the king, and the castles of the nobility to 
be resigned to English governors. These requisitions being remon- 



strated against by a few of our boldest chiefs, the tyrant repeated 
them with additional demands, and prepared to resent the appeal 
on the whole nation. 

"Three months have hardly elapsed since the fatal battle of Dun- 
bar, where, indignant at the outrages committed on their passive 
monarch, our irritated nobles at last rose, but too late, to assert their 
rights. Alas! one defeat drove them to despair. Baliol was taken, 
and themselves obliged to swear fealty to their enemy. Then came 
the seizure of the treasures of our monasteries, the burning of the na- 
tional records, the sequestration of our property, the banishment of 
our chiefs, and the slavery or murder of the poor people yoked to the 
land. The young warrior then informed me that Earl de Warenne 
(whom Edward had left Lord Warden of Scotland) is taken ill, 
and retired to London, leaving Aymer de Valence to be his deputy. 
To this new tyrant De Warenne has lately sent a host of mercenaries, 
to hold the south of Scotland in subjection. 

"With these representations of the conduct of our oppressors, the 
knight demonstrated the facihty with which invaders, drunk with 
power, could be vanquished by a resolute people. The absence of 
Edward, who is now abroad, increases the probability of success. The 
knight's design is to infuse his own spirit into the bosoms of the 
chiefs in this part of the kingdom, and by their assistance to seize the 
fortresses in the Lowlands, and so form a chain against the admission 
of fresh troops from England. For the present he wishes to be fur- 
nished with troops enough to take some castle of power sufficient to 
give confidence to his friends. On his becoming master of such a 
place it should be the signal for all to declare themselves, and, rising 
at once, overwhelm Edward's garrisons in every part of Scotland. 

"This is the knight's plan; and for your sake, as well as for the 
cause, I hope the first fortress he gains may be that of Dumbarton; 
it has always been considered the key of the country." 

"May Heaven grant it, holy father!" returned Helen; "and who- 
ever this knight may be, I pray the blessed St. Andrew to guide his 

"If I may venture to guess who he is," replied the hermit, "I 
would say that noble brow was formed to some day wear a crown." 

"What!" cried Helen, starting, "you think this knight is the royal 

"I am at a loss what to think," replied the hermit; "he has a most 
princely air." 

"But is he not too young?" inquired Helen. "I have heard my 
father say that Bruce, Lord of Annandale, the opponent of Bal/-^/ 


for the crown, was much his senior; and that his son, the Earl of 
Carrick, must be now fiftj^ years of age. This knight, if I am to 
judge of looks, cannot 'be twenty-five." 

"True," answered the hermit; "and yet he may be a Bruce, for it 
is neither of the two you have mentioned that I mean ; but the grand- 
son of the one, and the son of the other. You may see by this silver 
beard, lady, that the winter of my life is far spent. The elder Bruce, 
Robert, Lord of Annandale, was my contemporary; we were boys 
together and educated at the same college. He passed his manhood 
in visiting different courts; at last, marrying a lady of the princely 
house of Clare, he took her to France, and confided his only son to 
be brought up under the renowned Saint Louis; which young Robert 
took the cross while quite a youth, and carrying the banner of the 
King of France to the plains of Palestine, covered himself with 
glory. In storming a Saracen fortress he rescued the person of 
Prince Edward of England. 

"From that hour a strict friendship subsisted between the two 
young crusaders ; and when Edward mounted the throne of England, 
it being then the ally of Scotland, the old Earl of Annandale, to 
please his brave son, took up his residence at the English court. When 
the male issue of our King David failed in the untimely death of 
Alexander III., then came the contention between Bruce and Baliol 
for the vacant crown. Our most venerable chiefs, the witnesses of 
the parliamentary settlement made on the house of Bruce during the 
reign of the late king, all declared for Lord Annandale. He was 
not only the male heir in propinquity of blood, but his experienced 
years and known A^irtues excited all true Scots to place him on the 

"Meanwhile Edward, forgetting friendship to his friend and fidel- 
ity to a faithful ally, was undermining the interest of Bruce and the 
peace of the kingdom, and by covert ways, with bribes and promises, 
raised such an opposition on the side of Baliol as threatened a civil 
war. Secure in his right, and averse to plunge his country in blood, 
Bruce easily fell in with a proposal hinted to him by one of Edward's 
creatures, — 'to require that monarch to be umpire between him and 
Baliol.' Then it was that Edward, after soliciting the honor, de- 
clared it was his right as supreme Lord of Scotland. The Earl of 
Annandale refused to acknowledge this assumption. Baliol bowed to 
it; and for such obedience the unrighteous judge gave him the crown. 
Bruce absolutely refused to acknowledge the justice of this decision; 
and to avoid the power of the king, who had betrayed his rights, and 
the jealousy of the other who had usurped them, lie immediately left 


the scene of action, going over seas to join his son, who had been 
cajoled away to Paris. But, alas! he died on the road of a broken 

"When his son Robert (who was Earl of Carrit:k in right of his 
wife) returned to Britain, he, like his father, disdained to acknowl- 
edge Baliol as king. But being more incensed at his successful rival 
than at the treachery of his false friend, Edward, he believed his 
glossing speeches, and established his residence at that monarch's 
court. This forgetfulness of his royal blood and of the independency 
of Scotland has nearly obliterated him from every Scottish heart, for 
when we look at Bruce the courtier we cease to remember Bruce 
the descendant of St. David, — Bruce the Knight of the Cross, who 
bled for liberty before the walls of Jerusalem. 

"His eldest son may be now about the age of the young knight 
who has just left us; and when I look on his royal port, and listen to 
the fervors of his soul, I cannot but think that the spirit of his noble 
grandsire has revived in his breast, and that, leaving his father to 
the luxuries of Edward's palace, he is come hither in secret to arouse 
Scotland and to assert his claim." 

"It is very likely," rejoined Helen; "and may Heaven reward 
his virtue with the crown of his ancestors!" 

"Sir William Wallace I never have seen," continued the hermit; 
"but when he was quite a youth I heard of his victories in the mimic 
war of the jousts at Berwick, when Edward first marched into this 
country under the mask of friendship. From what you have said, I 
do not doubt his being a worthy supporter of Bruce. However, dear 
daughter, as it is only a suspicion of mine that this knight is that 
young prince, for his safety and for the sake of the cause Vv^e must 
not let that name escape our lips; no, not even to your relations when 
you rejoin them, nor to the youth whom his humanity put under my 
protection. Till he reveals his own secret, for us to divulge it would 
be folly and dishonor." 

As the hermit ended speaking, he rose, and, taking Helen by the 
hand, led her into an excavation of the rock, where a bed of dried 
leaves lay on the ground. "Here, gentle lady," said he, "I leave you 
to repose. In the evening I expect a lay brother from St. Oran's 
monastery, and he will be your messenger to the friends you may wish 
to rejoin. At present may gentlest seraphs guard your slumbers!" 

Helen, fatigued in spirit and in body, thanked the good hermit for 
his care, and, bowing to his blessing, he left her to repose. 



Guided by Ker, IMurray led his followers over the Lanark hills by 
untrodden paths, and hence avoided even the sight of a Southron 

Cheered by so favorable a commencement of their expedition, they 
even felt no dismay when, at evening, Ker descried a body of armed 
men at a distance, sitting round a fire at the foot of a rock which 
guards the western entrance to the Cartlane craigs. I^Iurray ordered 
his men to proceed under covert of the bushes; and then making a 
concerted signal, they struck their iron crows into the interstices of 
the cliff, and catching at the branches which grew out of its precipitous 
side, with much exertion but in perfect silence at last gained the 
summit. That effected, they pursued their way with the same cau- 
tion, till, after a long march and without encountering a human being, 
they reached the base of the huge rock which Wallace had made his 

Ker. who expected to find it surrounded by an English army, was 
amazed at the death-like solitude. "The place is deserted," cried he. 
"My brave friend, compelled by the extremity of his little garrison, 
has been obliged to surrender." 

"We will ascend and see," was ISIurray's answer. 

Ker led round the rock to the most accessible point, and mounting 
by the projecting stones, with some diiiiculty gained the top. Silence 
pervaded every part ; and the cavities at the summit, which had formed 
the temporary quarters of his comrades, were lonely. On entering 
the recess, where Wallace used to seek a few minutes' slumber, the 
moon, which shone full into the cave, discovered something bright 
lying in a distant corner. Ker hastily approached it; recollecting 
what Wallace had told him, that if during his absence he could find 
means of escape, he would leave some weapon as a sign: a dagger, if 
necessity drove him to the south point, where he must fight his way 
through the valley; and an arrow, if he could effect it without obser- 
vation, by the north, as he should then seek an asylum for liis ex- 
hausted followers in the wilds of Glenfinlass. 

It was the iron head of an arrow which the moon had silvered; 



and Ker catching it up exclaimed, "He is safe! this calls us to Glen- 
finlass." He then explained to Murray what had been the arrange- 
ment of Wallace respecting this sign, and without hesitation the young 
lord decided to follow him up- that track. 

Turning towards the northern part of the cliff, they came to a 
spot beneath which had been the strongest guard of the enemy, but 
now, like* the rest, it was abandoned. A narrow path led from this 
rocky platform to a fall of water, rushing by the mouth of a largel 
cavern. After they had descended the main craig, they clambered 
over the top of this cave, and entering upon another sweep of rugged 
hills, commenced a rapid march. 

Traversing the lower part of Stirlingshire, and pursuing their 
course westward, they ascended the Ochil hills, and proceeding along 
the wooded heights which overhang the banks of Teith, forded that 
river, and entered at once into the broad valley which opened to them 
a distant view of Ben Lomond and Ben Ledi. 

"There," exclaimed Ker, extending his hand towards the cloud- 
capped Ledi, "beneath the shadow of that mountain we shall find the 
light of Scotland, our dear master in arms!" 

At this intimation, the wearied Murrays uttered a shout of joy, 
and hastening forward with renovated strength, met a foaming river 
in their path. Despising all obstacles, they rushed in, and, buffeting 
the waves, soon found a firm footing on the opposite shore. The sun 
shone cheerily above their heads, illuminating the sides of the moun- 
tains with a dewy splendor, while Ben Ledi, the standard of their 
hope, seemed to wave them on. 

When the little troop halted on the shore of Loch Venachoir, the 
mists which had lingered on the brow of Ledi slowly descended into 
the valley, and covering the mouth of the pass, seemed to shut them 
at once between the mountain and that world of waters. Ker, who 
had never been in these tracks before, wondered at their sublimity, and 
became alarmed, lest they should lose their way amid infinite windings. 
But Murray, who remembered having once explored them with his 
father, led promptly forward by a steep rough road in the side of the 

The party soon entered a labyrinth of craigs ; and passing onward, 
gradually descended till the roar of waters intimated to Murray they 
drew near the great fall of Glenfinlass. Here towered a host of stately 
pines; and there, the lofty beeches, birches, and mountain-oak bending 
over the flood, formed an arch so impenetrable that while the sun 
brightened the tops of the mountains, all beneath lay in deepest 


They entered the valley, and with beating hearts pursued their 
way along the western border of Loch Lubnaig till the forest lost its 
high trees in the shadows of the surrounding mountains, and told 
them they were now in the center of Glenfinlass. 

Ker put his bugle to his lips and sounded the pibroch of Ellerslie. 
A thousand echoes returned the notes; and after a pause, which 
allowed their last response to die away, the air was answered by a horn 
from the heights of Craignacoheilg. An armed man then appeared on 
the rock, leaning forwards. Ker drew near, and taking off his bonnet, 
called aloud: "Stephen, it is William Ker who speaks. I come with 
the Lord Andrew Murray, of Bothwell, to the support of our com- 
mander. Sir William Wallace." 

At these words Stephen placed his bugle to his mouth, and in a 
few minutes the rock was covered with the members of its little garri- 
son. Women and children appeared, shouting with joy; and the men 
hastened to bid their comrade Avelcome. One advanced towards 
INIurray, whom he instantly recognized to be Sir Roger Kirkpatrick, 
of Torthorald. The chiefs saluted each other, and Lord Andrew 
pointed to his men. "I have brought," said he, "these few brave 
fellows to the aid of Sir William Wallace. They should have been 
more but for new events of Southron outrage. Yet I am impatient to 
lead them to the presence of my uncle's preserver." 

Kirkpatrick's answer disappointed the eager spirit of the young 
warrior. "I am sorry, brave Murray, that you have no better knight 
to receive you than myself. I and the gallant chief have not yet met ; 
but I am in arms for him, and the hour of retribution for all our 
injuries, I trust, is at hand." 

"But where is Sir William Wallace?" demanded Murray. 

"Gone towards the Forth, to rouse that part of sleeping Scotland. 
If all he meet have my spirit, they will not require a second call. I 
shall ever give thanks to the accident which brought me the welcome 
news that an arm is raised to strike it home." 

As he spoke he led Murray to the cliffs which crown the summit 
of Craignacoheilg. In the midst stood a tower which had once been 
a favorite hunting-lodge of the great King Fergus. There Kirk- 
patrick joyfully greeted his guest a second time. "This," said he, "is 
the far-famed Lodge of the Three Kings. Here did our lion, Fergus, 
attended by his royal allies, Durstus the Pict, and Dionethus the 
Briton, spread his board during their huntings in Glenfinlass. And 
here, eight hundred years ago, did the same heroic prince form the 
plans which saved his kingdom from a foreign yoke. On the same 


spot we will lay ours, and in their completion rescue Scotland from a 
tyranny more intolerable than that which menaced him." 

"And by the ghost of that same Fergus I swear," exclaimed 
Murray, "that my honest claymore shall never shroud its head while an 
invader be left alive in Scotland !" 

Kirkpatrick caught him in his arms. "Brave son of the noble 
Bothwell, thou art after mine own heart ! The blow which the dastard 
Cressingham durst aim at a Scottish chief still smarts upon my cheek, 
and rivers of his countrymen's blood shall wash out the stain. After 
I had been persuaded by his serpent eloquence to swear fealty to 
Edward on the defeat at Dunbar, I vainly thought that Scotland had 
only changed a weak prince for a wise king; but when in the courts 
of Stirling I heard Cressingham propose to the barons north of the 
dyke that they should give their castles into English hands; when I 
opposed the measure with all the indignation of a Scot who saw him- 
self betrayed, he first tried to overturn my arguments, and finding that 
impossible, he struck me! — Powers of earth and heaven, what was 
then the tempest of my soul! — I drew my sword — I would have laid 
him dead at my feet had not my countrymen held my arm and 
dragged me from the apartment. 

"Covered with dishonor by a blow I could not avenge, I fled to 
my brother-in-law, Sir John Scott, of Loch Doine. With him I buried 
my injury from the world; but it lived in my heart; it haunted me day 
and night, calling for revenge. 

"In such an hour, how did I receive the tidings that Sir William 
Wallace was in arms against the tyrant! It was the voice of retribu- 
tion calling me to peace of mind. Even my bed-ridden kinsman par- 
took my emotions, and with his concurrence I led a band of his hardiest 
clansmen to reenforce the brave men of Lanark on this rock. 

"Two days I have now been here awaiting in impatience the arrival 
of Wallace. Yes; we will mingle our injured souls together. He has 
made one offering; I must make another. We shall set forth to 
Stirling, and there, in the very heart of his den, I will sacrifice the 
tiger Cressingham to the vengeance of our wrongs." 

"But what, my brave friend," asked Murray, "are the forces you 
deem sufficient for so great an enterprise? How many fighting men 
may be counted of Wallace's own company, besides your own?" 

'"We have here about a hundred," replied Kirkpatrick, "including 

"How inadequate to storm so formidable a place as Stirling 
castle!" returned Murray. "Having, indeed, passed the Rubicon, we 
must go forward; but resolution, not rashness, should be the principle 


of our actions. And my opinion is, that a few minor advantages 
obtained, our countrymen would flock to our standard, the enemy 
would be intimidated, and we should carry thousands, instead of hun- 
dreds, before the walls of Stirling. To attempt it now would invite 
defeat, and pluck upon us the ruin of our entire project." 

"You are right, young man," cried Kirkpatrick; "my gray head, 
rendered impetuous by insult, did not pause on the temerity of my 
scheme. Oh, I would rather waste all my life in these solitary wilds, 
and know that at the close of it I should see the blood of Cressingham 
on these hands, than live a prince and die unrevenged!" 

Stephen and Ker now entered; the latter paid his respects to Sir 
Roger, and the former informed Murray that, having disposed his 
present followers M'ith those who had arrived before, he was come to 
lead their lord to some refreshment in the banqueting-room of the 
tower. "What!" cried Murray, "is it possible that my cousin's faithful 
band has reached its destination? None other belonging to Both well 
castle had any chance of escaping its jailer's hands." 

Kirkpatrick interrupted Stephen's reply bj^ saying that while their 
guests were at the board he would watch the arrival of certain ex- 
presses from two brave Drummonds, each of whom were to send him 
a hundred men. "So, my good Lord Andrew," cried he, striking him 
on the shoulder, "shall the snow-launch gather that is to fall on 
Edward to his destruction." 

Murray heartily shared his zeal, and bidding him a short adieu, 
followed Stephen and Ker into the hall. A haunch of venison of 
Glenfinlass smoked on the board, and goblets of wine from the bounte- 
ous cellars of Sir John Scott brightened the hopes which flowed in 
every heart. 

While the young chieftains were recruiting their exhausted 
strength, Stephen sat at the table to satisfy the anxiety of Murray to 
know how the detachment from Bothwell had come to Craignacoheilg, 
and by what signal act of bravery Wallace could have escaped with his 
whole train from the foe-surrounded Cartlane craigs. 

"Heaven smiled on us," replied Stephen. "The very evening of 
the day on which Ker left us there was a carousal in the English 
camp. We heard the sound of the song and riot, and of many an 
insult cast upon our besieged selves. But about an hour after sunset 
the noise sank by degrees : a hint that the revelers, overcome by excess, 
had fallen asleep. At this very time, owing to the heat of the day, so 
great a vapor had been exhaled from the lake beneath that the whole 
of the northern side of the fortress cliff was covered with a mist so 
thick we could not discern each other at a foot's distance. 'Now is the 


moment!' said our gallant leader; 'the enemy are stupefied with wine; 
the rock is clothed in a veil; under its shelter let us pass from their 

"He called us together, and making the proper dispositions, com- 
manded the children and women on their lives to keep silence. He 
then led us to the top of the northern clifF; it overhung an obscure 
cave which he knew opened at its extremity. By the assistance of a 
rope held by several men, our resolute chief made his way down the 
rock, and was the first who descended. He stood 'at the bottom, en- 
veloped in the cloud which shrouded the mountain, till all the men 
of the first division had cleared the height; he then marshaled them 
with their pikes towards the foe, in case of an alarm. But all remained 
quiet, although the sound of voices, both in song and laughter, inti- 
mated that the utmost precaution was still necessary. 

"Wallace reascended the rock half-way, and receiving the children, 
which were lowered into his arms, he handed them to the old men, 
who carried them safely through the bushes which obscured the cave's 
mouth. The rest of our little garrison soon followed; then our sen- 
tinels, receiving the signal that all were safe, drew silently from their 
guard, and closed our march through the cavern. 

"This eif ected, we blocked up its mouth, that, should our escape 
be discovered, the enemy might not find the direct road we had taken. 

"We pursued our course without stop till we reached the valleys 
of Stirlingshire. There some kind shepherds gave the women and 
children temporary shelter ; and Wallace, seeing that if anything were 
to be done for Scotland, he must swell his host, put the party under 
my guidance, giving me orders that when they were rested I should 
march them to Glenfinlass, here to await his return. Selecting ten 
men, with that small band he turned towards the Forth, hoping to 
meet some valiant friends in that part of the country ready to embrace 
her cause. 

"He had hardly been an hour departed when Dugald observed a 
procession of monks descending the opposite mountain. They drew 
near and halted in the glen. A crowd of women from the neighbor- 
ing hills had followed the train, and were now gathering round a 
bier, which the monks set down. I know not by what happy fortune 
I came close to the leader of the procession, but he saw something in 
my rough features that declared me an honest Scot. 'Friend,' whis- 
pered he, 'for charity conduct us to some place where we may with- 
draw this bier from the eye of curiosity.' 

"I made no hesitation, but desired the train to follow me into a 


byre belonging to the shepherd who was my host. On this motion the 
common people went away, and the monks entered the place. 

"When the travelers threw up their hoods, which as mourners they 
had worn over their faces, I could not help exclaiming, 'Alas, for the 
glory of Scotland, that this goodly group of stout men rather wore 
the helmet than the cowl!' — 'How,' asked their principal, 'do we not 
pray for the glory of Scotland?' — 'True,' replied I; 'but while Moses 
prayed, Joshua fought. God gives the means of glory, that they 
should be used.' — 'But for what, old veteran,' said the monk, with a 
penetrating look, 'should we exchange our cowl for the helmet? 
Knowest thou anything of the Joshua who would lead us to the field?' 
There was something in the young priest's eyes that seemed to contra- 
dict his pacific words; they flashed an impetuous fire. My reply was 
short. 'Are you a Scot?' — 'I am, in soul and in arms.' — 'Then knowest 
thou not the chief of Ellerslie?' As I spoke, for I stood close to the 
bier, I perceived the pall shake. The monk answered my last question 
with an exclamation — 'You mean Sir William Wallace!' 

" 'Yes,' I replied. The bier shook more violently at these words, 
and, with my hair bristling from my head, I saw the pall hastily thrown 
off, and a beautiful youth, in a shroud, started from it, crying aloud, 
'Then is our pilgrimage at an end. Lead us to him.' 

"The monk perceived my terror, and hastily exclaimed, Tear not; 
he is alive, and seeks Sir William Wallace. His pretended death was 
a stratagem to ensure our passage through the English army, for we 
are soldiers like yourself.' As he spoke he opened his gray habit and 
showed me the mailed tartans beneath." 

"What, then!" interrupted Murray; "those monks were my faith- 
ful clansmen?" 

"The same," replied Stephen. "I assured them they might now 
resume their own characters, for all who inhabited the valley were true 
though aged Scots. The young had long been drafted by Edward's 
agents to fight his battles abroad. 

" 'Ah !' interrupted the shrouded youth, 'are we a people that can 
die for the honor of this usurper, and are we ignorant how to do it 
for our countiy ? Lead us, soldier of Wallace,' cried he, stepping reso- 
lutely on the ground, — 'lead us to your brave master, and tell him 
that a few determined men are come to shed their blood for him and 

"This astonishing youth (for he did not appear to be more than 
fifteen) stood before me in his robes of death, like the spirit of some 
bright-haired son of Fingal. I looked on him with admiration, and 


explaining our situation, told him whither Wallace was gone, and of 
our destination to await him in the forest of Glenfinlass. 

"While your clansmen were refreshing themselves, we learnt from 
Kenneth, their conductor, that the troop left Bothwell under expec- 
tation of your soon following them. They had not proceeded far 
before their scouts perceived the outpost of the English which sur- 
rounded Cartlane craigs, and to avoid this danger they took a circui- 
tous path, in hope of finding some unguarded entrance. They reached 
the convent of St. Columba, at the western side of the craigs. Ken- 
neth knew the abbot, and entering it under cover of the night, obtained 
permission for his men to rest there. The youth, now their companion, 
was a student in the church. He had been sent thither by his mother, 
a pious lady, in the hope that, as he is of a gentle nature, he would 
attach himself to the sacred tonsure. 

"The moment this youth discovered our errand, he tried to prevail 
on the abbot to permit him to accompany us. But his entreaties were 
vain, till, wrought up to anger, he threatened that if he were prevented 
joining Sir William Wallace, he would take the earliest opportunity 
to escape, and commit liimself to the peril of the English pikes. 

"Seeing him determined, the abbot granted his wish; 'and then it 
was,' said Kenneth, 'that the youth seemed inspired. It was no longer 
an enthusiastic boy we saw before us, but an angel, gifted with wisdom 
to direct us. It was he proposed disguising ourselves as a funeral 
procession ; and while he painted his blooming countenance of a death- 
like paleness, and stretched himself on this bier, the abbot sent to 
the English army to request permission for a party of monks to cross 
the craigs to the cave of St. Columba, in Stirlingshire, whither they 
carried a dead brother to be entombed. Our young leader hoped we 
might thus find an opportunity to apprise Wallace we were friends, 
and ready to swell the ranks of his little armament. 

" 'On our entrance into the passes of the craigs,' continued Ken- 
neth, 'the English captain there mentioned the fate of Bothwell and 
the captivity of Lord Mar, and with very little courtesy to sons of 
the church ordered the bier to be opened, to see whether it did really 
contain a corpse, or provisions for our besieged countrymen. We 
had expected this investigation, else we might as well have wrapped 
the trunk of a tree in the shroud we carried as a human being. This 
ceremony once over, we expected to have passed on without further 
notice; and in that case the youth would have left his pall and per- 
formed the remainder of his journey in disguise with the rest. But 
the strict watch of an English guard confined him wholly to the bier. 
In hopes of at last evading this vigilance, on pretense of a vow of the 


deceased that his bearers should perform a pilgrimage throughout the 
craigs, we traversed them in every direction; and, I make no doubt, 
would have finally wearied out our guard and gained our point had not 
the circumstance transpired of Wallace's escape. 

" 'On this disappointment the Southron captains retired to their 
commander-in-chief, to give as good an account as they could of so 
disgraceful a termination of their siege and our guard hurried us into 
Stirlingshire, and left us at the other side of the mountain. Even 
then we were not free to release our charge, for, attracted by our 
procession, the country people followed us into the valley, yet had we 
not met with you, it was our design to throw off our disguises in the 
first safe place, and, divided into small bands, have severally sought 
Sir William Wallace.' " 

"But where," demanded Murray, who had listened with delighted 
astonishment to this recital, "where is this admirable youth? Why, if 
Kenneth have learnt I am arrived, does he not bring him to receive my 
thanks and friendship?" 

"It is my fault," returned Stephen, "that Kenneth will not ap- 
proach you till your repast is over. I left him to see your followers 
properly refreshed. And for the youth, he seems timid of appearing 
before you. Even his name I cannot make known to you till he reveals 
it himself; none know him here by any other than that of Edwin. He 
has, however, granted to-morrow morning for the interview." 

"I must submit to his determination," replied Murray; "but I am 
at a loss to guess why so brave a creature should hesitate to meet me. 
I can only suppose he dislikes the idea of resigning the troop he has so 
well conducted; and if so, I shall think it my duty to yield its com- 
mand to him." 

"Indeed he richly deserves it," returned Stephen; "for the very 
soul of Wallace seemed transfused into his breast as he cheered us 
through our long march from the valley to Glenfinlass. He played 
with the children, heartened up the women, and when the men were 
weary, and lagged by the way, he sat him down on the nearest stones 
and sang to us legends of our ancestors till every nerve was braced 
with warlike emulation. 

"When we arrived at Craignacoheilg, as the women were in great 
want I suddenly recollected that I had an old friend in the neighbor- 
hood. When a boy I had been the playfellow of Sir John Scott, of 
Loch Doine, and though I understood him to be now an invalid, I 
went to him. While I told my tale, his brother-in-law, Sir Roger 
Kirkpatrick, took fire at my relation and declared his determination 


to accompany me to Craignacoheilg, and you noted that you met him 
here on your arrival." 

While Stephen was still speaking, Kenneth Mackenzie joyfully 
entered the hall. Murray received him with a warm emhrace; and, 
soon after, the wearied chieftain was led to a bed of freshly gathered 
heath, prepared for him in an upper chamber. 



The rest of the youthful Murray was sweet till the shrill notes of a 
hundred bugles piercing his ear made him start. He listened; they 
sounded again. The morning had fully broke. He sprang from his 
couch, hurried on his armor, and snatching up his lance and target, 
issued from the tower. Several women were flying past the gate. 
On seeing him they exclaimed, "The Lord Wallace is arrived. His 
bugles have sounded — our husbands are returned!" 

Murray followed their eager footsteps, and reached the edge of 
the rock just as the brave group were ascending. A stranger was 
also there, who from his extreme youth and elegance he judged must 
be the young protector of his clansmen; but he forbore to address him 
until they should be presented to each other by Wallace himself. 

It was indeed the same. On hearing the first blast of the horn the 
youthful chieftain had hastened from his bed of heath, and buckling 
on his brigandine, rushed to the rocks ; but at sight of the noble figure 
which first gained the summit the young hero fell back, awe checked 
his steps, and he stood at a distance while Kirkpatrick welcomed the 
chief and introduced Lord Andrew Murray. Wallace received the 
latter with a glad smile, and taking him warmly by tlie hand, "Gallant 
Murray," said he, "with such assistance I hope to reinstate your brave 
uncle in Bothwell castle, and soon to cut a passage to even a mightier 
rescue. We must carry off Scotland from the tyrant's arms, or," 
added he in a graver tone, "we shall only rivet her chains the closer." 

"I am but a poor auxiliary," returned Murray; "mj^ troop is a 
scanty one, for it is of my own gathering. It is not my father's nor 
my uncle's strength that I bring along with me. But there is one 
here," continued he, "who has preserved a party of men sent by my 
cousin Lady Helen Mar, almost double my numbers." 

At this reference to the youthful warrior, Sir Roger Kirkpatrick 
discerned him at a distance, and hastened towards him, while Murray 
briefly related to Wallace the extraordinary conduct of this unknown. 
On being told that the chief waited to receive him, the youth hastened 
forward with a trepidation he never had felt before, a confusion so 
amiable that Wallace, who perceived his youth and emotion, opened 



his arms and embraced him. "Brave youth," cried he, "I trust that 
the power which blesses our cause will enable me to return you with 
many a well-earned glory to the bosom of your family." 

Edwin was encouraged by the frank address of a hero whom he 
expected to have found reserved and wrapped in the deep glooms of 
his fate ; but when he saw a benign countenance hail him with smiles, 
he made a strong effort to shake off the awe with which the name and 
the dignity of Wallace had oppressed him, and with a blush he replied : 
"My family are worthy of your esteem; my father is brave, but my 
mother, fearing for me, her favorite son, prevailed on him to put me 
into a monastery. Dreading the power of the English, even there she 
allowed none but the abbot to know who I was. And as he chose to 
hide my name, and I have burst from my concealment without her 
knowledge, till I do something worthy of that name and deserving her 
pardon, permit me, noble Wallace, to follow your footsteps by the 
simple appellation of Edwin." 

"Noble boy," returned the chief, "your wish shall be respected. 
We urge you no further to reveal what such bravery must shortly 
proclaim in the most honorable manner." 

The whole of the troop having ascended, while their wives, chil- 
dren, and friends were rejoicing in their embraces, Wallace asked 
some questions relative to Bothwell, and Murray briefly related the 
disasters which had happened there. 

"My father," added he, "is still with the Lord of Lochawe, and 
thither I sent to request him to despatch to the Cartlane eraigs all the 
followers he took with him into Argjdeshire. But as things are, would 
it not be well to send a second messenger to say that you have sought 
refuge in Glenfinlass?" 

"Before he could arrive," returned Wallace, "I hope we shall be 
where Lord Bothwell's reenforcements may reach us by water. Our 
present object must be the Earl of Mar. He is the first Scottish earl 
who has hazarded his estates and life for Scotland, and as her best 
friend, his liberation must be our first enterprise. In my circuit 
through two or three eastern counties a promising increase has been 
made to our little army. The Erasers, of Oliver castle, have given me 
two hundred men, and the brave Sir Alexander Scrymgeour, whom 
I met in West Lothian, has not only brought fifty Scots to my com- 
mand, but, as hereditary standard-bearer of the kingdom, has come 
himself to carry the royaJ banner of Scotland to glory or oblivion." 

"To glory!" cried Murray, waving his sword. "Oh, not while a 
Scot survives shall that blood-red lion again lick the dust I" 

"No," cried Kirkpatrick, his eyes flashing fire; "rather may every 


Scot and every Southron fall in the struggle and fill one grave. Let 
me," cried he, grasping the hilt of his sword and looking upwards, — 
"let me live but to see the Forth and the Clyde, so often reddened 
with our blood, dye the eastern and the western oceans with the blood 
of these our foes; and when none is spared, then let me die in peace." 

The eyes of Wallace glanced on the young Edwin, who stood 
gazing onKirkpatrick, and turning on the knight with a look of rep- 
rehension, "Check that prayer," cried he; "remember, my brave com- 
panion, if we would be blessed in the contest we must be merciful." 

"To whom?" exclaimed Kirkpatrick; "to the robbers who tear from 
us our lands, to the ruffians who wrest from us our honors? But you 
are patient; you never received a blow." 

"Yes," cried Wallace, turning paler, "a heavy one, — on my heart." 

"True," returned Kirkpatrick, "your wife fell under the steel of 
a Southron governor, and you slew him for it. You were revenged, 
your feelings were appeased." 

"Not the death of fifty thousand governors," replied Wallace, 
"could appease my feelings. Revenge were insufficient to satisfy 
the yearnings of rny soul, but I do not denounce the whole nation 
without reserve. When the sword of war is drawn, all who resist 
must conquer or fall ; but there are some noble English who abhor the 
tyranny they are obliged to exercise over us, and when they declare 
such remorse, shall they not find mercy at our hands? I even hope 
that by our righteous cause and our clemency we shall not only 
gather our own people to our legions, but turn the hearts of the poor 
Welsh and the misled Irish, whom the usurper has forced into his 
armies, and so confront him with troops of his own levying." 

"That may be," returned Kirkpatrick; "but surely you would 
not rank Aymer de Valence, who lords it over Dumbarton, and Cres- 
singham, who acts the tyrant in Stirling, — you would not rank them 
amongst these conscientious English?" 

"No," replied Wallace; "the oppression of the one and the cruelty 
of the other have given Scotland too many wounds for me to hold a 
shield before them; meet them, and I leave them to your sword.'' 

"And by heavens," cried Kirkpatrick, gnashing his teeth, "they 
shall know its point!" 

Wallace then informed his friends he purposed marching next 
morning by daybreak towards Dumbarton castle. "When we make 
the attack," said he, "it mu^ be in the night, for I propose seizing it 
by storm." 

Murray and Kirkpatrick joyfully acquiesced. Edwin smiled an 
enraptured assent, and Wallace, with many a gracious look and 


speech, disengaged himself from the embraces of the weaker part of 
the garrison, who clung to him as to a presiding deity. 

"You, my dear countrywomen," said he, "shall find a home for 
your aged parents, your children, and yourselves with the venerable 
Sir John Scott, of Loch Doine. You are to be conducted thither this 
evening, and there av^ait in comfort the return of your husbands, 
whom Providence now leads forth to be the champions of your coun- 

Filled with enthusiasm, the women uttered a shout of triumph, 
and embracing their husbands, declared they were ready to resign 
them wholly to Heaven and Sir William Wallace. 

Wallace left them with these tender relatives from whom they 
were so soon to part, and retired with his chieftains to arrange the 
plan of his proposed attack. Delighted with the glory which seemed 
to wave him from the pinnacles of Dumbarton rock, Edwin listened 
in silence to all that was said, and then hastened to his quarters to 
prepare his armor for the ensuing morning. 



In the cool of the evening, while the young chieftain was thus em- 
ployed, Kenneth entered to tell him that Sir William Wallace had 
called out his little army to see its strength and numbers. Edwin's 
soul had become not more enamored of the panoply of war than of 
his admired leader, and at this intelligence he threw his plaid over 
his brigandine, and placing a swan-plumed bonnet on his brows, 
hastened forth to meet his general. 

The thirty followers of INIurray appeared just as the two hundred 
Erasers entered from an opening in the rocks. Blood mounted into 
his face as he compared his inferior numbers and recollected the 
obligation they were to repay, and the greater one he was now going 
to incur. However, he threw the standard, worked by Helen, on his 
shoulder, and turning to Wallace, "Behold," cried he, pointing to his 
men, "the poor man's mite ! It is great, for it is my all." 

"Great indeed, brave Murray," returned Wallace, "for it brings 
me a host in yourself." 

"I will not disgrace my standard," said he, lowering the banner- 
staff to Wallace. He started when he saw the flowing lock which 
he could not help recognizing. "This is my betrothed," continued 
Murray in a blither tone; "I have sworn to take her for better for 
worse, and I pledge you my troth nothing but death shall part us." 

Wallace grasped his hand. "And I pledge you mine, that the 
head whence it grew shall be laid low before I suffer so generous a 
defender to be separated from this standard." His eyes glanced 
at the impresse. "Thou art right," continued he, "God doth indeed 
arm thee; and in the strength of a righteous cause thou goest with 
the confidence of success to embrace victory as a bride." 

"No, I am only the bridegroom's man," replied Murray, gaily 
moving off. "I shall be content with a kiss or two from the hand- 
maids, and leave the lady for my general." 

"We just muster five hundred men," observed Ker to Wallace; 
"but they are all stout in heart as condition, and ready, even to-night, 
if you will it, to commence their march." 

"No," replied Wallace; "we must not overstrain the generous 



spirit. Let them rest to-night, and to-morrow's dawn shall light us 
through the forest." 

Ker, who acted as henchman to Wallace, now returned to the 
ranks to give the word, and they all marched forward. 

Sir Alexander Scrymgeour, with his golden standard, charged 
with the lion of Scotland, led the van. Wallace raised his bonnet 
from his head as it drew near. Scrymgeour lowered the staff. Wal- 
lace threw up his outstretched hand at this action, but the knight 
not understanding him, he stepped forward. "Sir Alexander Scrym- 
geour," cried he, "that standard must not bow to me. It represents 
the royalty of Scotland, before which we fight for our liberties. If 
virtue yet dwell in the house of valiant Saint David, some of his 
offspring will hear of this day, and lead it forward to conquest and to 
a crown. Till such an hour, let not that standard bend to any man." 

Wallace fell back as he spoke, and Scrymgeour, bowing his head 
in sign of acquiescence, marched on. 

Sir Roger Kirkpatrick, at the head of his well-appointed High- 
landers, next advanced. His blood-red banner streamed to the air, 
and as it bent to Wallace, he saw that the indignant knight had 
adopted the device of the hardy King Archaius, but with a fiercer 
motto: "Touch, and I pierce." 

The men of Loch Doine, a strong, tall, and well-armed body, 
marched on, and gave place to the advancing corps of Bothwell. The 
eye of Wallace felt as if turning from gloom and horror to the cheer- 
ful light of day when it fell on the bright and ingenuous face of 
Murray. Kenneth, with his troop, followed, and the youthful Edwin, 
like Cupid in arms, closed the procession. 

Being drawn up in line, their chief advanced toward them, and 
expressing his sentiment of the patriotism which brought them into 
the field, informed them of his intended march. He then turned 
to Stephen Ireland: "The sun has now set," said he, "and before 
dark you must conduct the families of my worthy Lanarkmen to the 
protection of Sir John Scott. It is time that age, infancy, and female 
weakness should cease their wanderings with us; to-night we bid 
them adieu, to meet them again, by the leading of the Lord of Hosts, 
in freedom and prosperity." 

As Wallace ceased, and was retiring from the ground, several 
old men, and young women with babes in their arms, rushed from be- 
hind the ranks, and throwing themselves at his feet, caught hold of 
his hands and garments. "We go," said the venerable fathers, "to 
pray for your welfare; and sure we are a crown will bless our coun- 
try's benefactor, here or in heaven." 


"In heaven," replied Wallace, shaking the plumes of his bonnet 
over his eyes to hide the moisture which suffused them. "I can 
have no right to any other crown." 

"Yes," cried a hoary-headed shepherd; "you free your country 
from tyrants, and the people's hearts will proclaim their deliverer 
their sovereign." 

"May your rightful monarch, worthy patriarch," said Wallace, 
"whether a Bruce or a Baliol, meet with equal zeal from Scotland at 

The women wept as they clung to his hand, and the daughter of 
Ireland, holding up her child in her arms, presented it to him. "Look 
on my son," cried she with energj''; "the first word he speaks shall 
be Wallace; the second, liberty!" 

At this speech all the women held up their children towards him. 
"Here," cried they, "we devote them to Heaven and to our country. 
Adopt them, noble Wallace, to be thy followers in arms when, per- 
haps, their fathers are laid low." 

Unable to speak, Wallace pressed their little faces to his lips; 
then returning them to their mothers, laid his hand on his heart and 
answered in an agitated voice, "They are mine; my weal shall be 
theirs, my woe my own." As he spoke he hurried from the weeping 
group, and immerging amid the cliffs, hid himself from their tears 
and their blessings. 

The mists of evening hung on the gigantic tops of Ben Ledi and 
Ben Vorlich, then sailing forward, by degrees obscured the whole of 
the mountains, leaving nothing for the eye to dwell on but the long, 
silent expanse of the waters below. 

"So," said he, "did I once believe myself forever shut in from 
the world by an obscurity that promised me happiness as well as se- 
clusion. But the hours of Ellerslie are gone. No tender wife will 
now twine her faithful arms around my neck. No child of Marion's 
will ever be pressed to my fond bosom. Alas, the angel that sank 
my country's wrongs to a dreamy forgetfulness in her arms, she 
was to be immolated, that I might awake, and the sacrifice shall not 
be yielded in vain. No, blessed God !" cried he, stretching his clasped 
hands towards heaven; "endow me with thine own spirit, and I shall 
yet lead my countrymen to liberty and happiness!" 

The plaintive voice of the Highland pipe at this moment broke 
upon his ear. It was the farewell of the patriarch Lindsay, as he 
and his departing company descended the winding paths of Craig- 
nacoheilg. Wallace started on his feet. The separation had then 
taken place between his trusty followers and their families, and guess- 


ing the feelings of those brave men from what was passing in his 
own breast, he dried his tears, and once more resuming the warrior's 
cheerful look, sought that part of the rock where the Lanarkmen M^ere 
quartered. As he drew near he saw some standing on the cliff, and 
others leaning over, to catch another glance of the departing group 
ere it was lost amid the shades of Glenfinlass. 

"Are thej^ quite gone?" asked Dugald. "Quite," answered a 
young man who seemed to have the most advantageous situation 
for a view. "Then," cried he, "may St. Andrew keep them till we 
meet again!" 

"May a greater than St. Andrew hear thy prayer!" ejaculated 
Wallace. At the sound of this response from their chief they all 
turned round. "My brave companions," said he, "I come to repay 
this hour's pang by telling 3^ou that in the attack of Dumbarton you 
shall have the honor of first mounting the walls. I shall be at your 
head to sign each brave soldier with a patriot's seal of honor." 

"To follow you, my lord," said Dugald, "is our duty." 

"I grant it," replied the chief; "and as I am the leader in that 
duty, it is mine to dispense to eveiy man his reward." 

"Ah, dearest sir!" exclaimed Edwin, who had been assisting the 
women to carry their infants down the steep, and on reascending 
heard the latter part of this conversation, "deprive me not of the 
aim of my life. Oh, my dear commander, let me only carry to the 
grave the consciousness that, next to yourself, I was the first to 
mount the rock of Dumbarton, and you will make me noble indeed!" 

Wallace looked at him with a smile of such graciousness that the 
youth threw himself into his arms. "You will grant my boon?" 

"I will, noble boy," said he; "act up to your sentiments, and you 
shall be my brother." 

"Call me by that name," cried Edwin, "and I will dare anything." 

"Then be the first to follow me on the rock," said he, "and I will 
lead you to an honor the highest in my gift — you shall unloose the 
chains of the Earl of Mar. And ye," continued he, turning to his 
men, "ye shall not find your country slow to commemorate the duty 
of such sons. Being the first to strike the blow for her freedom, ye 
shall be the first she will distinguish. I now speak as her minister; 
and as a badge to times immemorial, I bid you wear the Scottish lion 
on your shields," 

A shout of proud joy issued from every heart. And Wallace, 
seeing that honor had dried the tears of regret, left them to repose. 
He sent Edwin to his rest, and himself, avoiding the other chieftains, 
retired to his own chamber in the tower. 



Profound as was the rest of Wallace, yet the first clarion of the 
lark awakened him, and a fresh breeze wooed him to rise and meet it. 
Kising immediately, he put on his glittering hauberk, and issuing from 
the tower, raised his bugle to his lips and blew so rousing a blast 
that in an instant the whole rock was covered with soldiers. 

Wallace placed his helmet on his head and advanced towards 
them just as Edwin had joined him and Sir Roger Kirkpatrick ap- 
peared from the tower. "Blest be this morn!" cried the old knight. 
"My sword springs from its scabbard to meet it; and ere its good 
steel be sheathed again," continued he, shaking it sternly, "what deaths 
may dye its point!" 

Offended at such savageness, but without answering him, Wallace 
drew towards Murray, and calling to Edwin, ordered him to march 
at his side. The youth seemed glad of the summons, and Wallace 
was pleased to observe it, as he thought that a longer stay with one 
who so grossly overcharged the feelings of patriotism might breed 
disgust in his innocent mind against a cause which had so furious a 

The forces being marshaled according to the preconcerted order, 
the three commanders, with Wallace at their head, led forward. 

They passed through the forest of Glenfinlass, and morning and 
evening still found them thridding its solitudes in security; night, 
too, watched their onward march. 

The sun had just risen as the little band of patriots emerged upon 
the eastern bank of Loch Lomond. The bases of the mountains were 
yet covered with the mist of the morning, and hardly distinguishable 
from the blue waters of the lake which lashed the shore. The newly 
awakened sheep bleated from the hills, and the herbage, dropping dew, 
seemed glittering with a thousand fairy gems. 

"Where is the man who would not fight for such a country?" ex- 
claimed Murray as he stepped over a bridge of interwoven trees 
which crossed one of the mountain-streams; "this land was not made 
for slaves. Look at these bulwarks of nature. Every mountain- 
head which forms this chain of hills is a rampart against invasion. 



If Baliol had possessed but half a heart, Edward might have returned 
even worse than Caesar — without a cockle to decorate his helmet." 

"Baliol has found oblivion," returned Wallace; "his son, perhaps, 
may better deserve the scepter of such a country. Let us cut the 
way, and he who merits the crown will soon appear to claim it." 

"Then it will not be Edward Baliol," rejoined Scrymgeour. 
'During the reign of his father I once carried a despatch to him 
from Scotland. He was then banqueting in all the luxuries of the 
English court; and such a voluptuary I never beheld. I left the 
scene of folly, only prajdng that so effeminate a prince might never 
disgrace the throne of our manly race of kings." 

"If such be the tuition of our lords in the court of Edward," ob- 
served Ker, "what can we expect from even the Bruce? They were 
ever a nobler race than the Baliol; but bad education and luxury will 
debase the most princely minds." 

"I saw neither of the Bruce when I visited London," replied 
Scrymgeour; "the Earl of Carrick was at his house in Cleveland, and 
Robert Bruce, his eldest son, with the Englisli army in Guienne. But 
they bore a manly character, particularly young Robert, to whom 
the troubadours of Aquitaine have given the flattering appellation 
of Prince of Chivalry." 

"It would be more to his honor," interrupted Murray, "if he com- 
pelled the English to acknowledge him as Prince of Scotland. With 
so much bravery how can he allow such a civet-cat as Edward Baliol 
to bear away the title which is his by the double right of blood and 

"Perhaps," said Wallace, "the young lion only sleeps. The time 
may come when both he and his father will rise from their lethargy 
and throw themselves at once into the arms of Scotland. To stimu- 
late the dormant patriotism of these two princes by showing them a 
subject leading their peoj^le to liberty is one great end of the victories 
I seek." 

"For my part," said Murray, "I have always thought the lady 
we will not woo, we have no right to pretend to. If the Bruces will 
not be at the pains to snatch Scotland from drowning, I see no rea- 
son for making them a present of what will cost us many a wet jacket 
before we tug her from the waves." 

Wallace did not hear this last sentiment of Murray's, as it was 
spoken in a lowered voice in the ear of Kirkpatrick. "I agree with 
you," was that knight's reply, "and in the true Roman style may the 
death of every Southron now in Scotland, and as many more as fate 
chooses to yield us, be the preliminary games of his coronation." 


Wallace, who heard this, turned to Kirkpatrick with a mild re- 
buke in his eye. "Balaam blest when he meant to curse," said he; 
"but some curse when they mean to bless. Such prayers are blas- 

"Blood for blood is only justice," returned Murray; "and how can 
you, noble Wallace, as a Scot and as a man, imply any mercy to the 
villains who stab us to the heart?" 

"I plead not for them," replied Wallace, "but for the poor 
wretches who follow their leaders, by force, to the field of Scotland. 
It is not to aggrieve but to redress that we carry arms." 

"I do not understand commiserating the wolves who have so long 
made havoc in our country," cried Kirkpatrick; "methinks such maid- 
enly mercy is rather out of place." 

Wallace turned to him with a smile. "I will answer you, my 
valiant friend, by adopting your own figure. It is that these Southron 
wolves may not confound us with themselves that I wish to show in 
our conduct rather the generous ardor of the faithful guardian of 
the fold, than the rapacious fierceness which equals them with the 
beasts of the desert. The one is an ambition with which angels may 
sympathize; the other, a desire which speaks the nature of fiends." 

"In some cases this may be," replied Sir Roger, a little reconciled 
to the argument, "but not in mine. My injury yet burns upon my 
cheek, and as nothing but the life-blood of Cressingham can quench 
it, I will listen no more to your doctrine till I am revenged. That 
done, I shall not forget your lesson." 

"Generous Kirkpatrick!" exclaimed Wallace, "nothing that is 
really cruel can dwell with such manly candor. Say what you will, 
I can trust your heart after this moment." 

They had crossed the river Ennerie, and were issuing from be- 
tween its ridge of hills, when Wallace, pointing to a stupendous rock 
which rose in solitary magnificence in the midst of a vast plain, ex- 
claimed. "There is Dumbarton castle; that citadel holds the fetters 
of Scotland, and if we break them there, every minor link will easily 
give way." 

The "men uttered a shout of anticipated triumph at this sight, and 
proceeding, soon came in view of the fortifications which helmeted 
the rock. As they approached, they discovered that it had two sum- 
mits, being in a manner cleft in twain, the one side rising in a pyram- 
idal form, while the other, of a table shape, sustained the ponderous 
buildings of the fortress. 

It was dusk when the little army arrived in the rear of a thicket 
which skirted the eastern dvke of the castle and reached to a con- 


siderable length over the plain. On this spot Wallace rested his men, 
and while they placed themselves under its covert till the appointed 
time of attack, he perceived through an opening in the wood the 
gleaming of soldiers' arms on the ramparts, and fires beginning to 
light on a lonely watch-tower which crowned the pinnacle of the 
highest rock. 

"Poor fools!" exclaimed Murray; "like the rest of their brethren 
of clay, they look abroad for evils, and prepare not for those which 
are even at their doors." 

"That beacon-fire," cried Scrymgeour, "shall light us to their 
chambers, and for once we thank them for their providence." 

"That beacon-fire," whispered Edwin to Wallace, "shall light me 
to honor. To-night, by your agreement, I shall call you brother, or 
lie dead on the summit of those walls." 

"Edwin," said Wallace, "act as you say, and deserve not only 
to be called my brother, but to be the first banneret of freedom in 

He then turned towards the lines, and giving his orders to each 
division, directed them to seek repose on the heather till the moon 
should have sunk her light in the waves. 



All obeyed the voice of their commander and retired to rest, but the 
eyes of Edwin could not close; his eager spirit was already on the 
walls of Dumbarton, for imagination suggested the difficulties at- 
tending so small a force assailing so formidable a garrison without 
some immediate knowledge of its relative situations. A sudden 
thought struck him. He would mount that rock alone ; he would seek 
to ascertain the place of Lord INIar's confinement, that not one life in 
Wallace's faithful band might be lost in a vague search. 

"Ah, my general!" exclaimed he, "Edwin shall be the first to 
spring those ramparts; and when he has thus proved himself not 
unworthy of thy confidence, he wdll return to lead thee and thy sol- 
diers to a sure victory, and himself to honor by thy side." 

He looked towards the embattled cliif ; its summit stood bright in 
the moonlight, but deep shadows lay beneath. "God be my speed!" 
cried he, and wrapping himself in his plaid, so mixed its dark hues 
with the herbage at the base of the rock that he made its circuit 
without having attracted observation. 

The south side seemed the most easy of ascent, and by that he 
began his daring attempt. Having gained the height, he clambered 
behind a buttress, the shadow of which cast the wall into such obscurity 
that he crept safely through one of its crenelles, and dropping gently 
inwards, alighted on his feet. Still keeping the shadowed side of 
the battlements, he proceeded cautiously along, and passed undis- 
covered, even by the sentinels who guarded this quarter of the fortress. 

He soon arrived at the open square before the citadel; it was yet 
occupied by e^roups of Southron officers, gaily walking to and fro 
under the light of the moon. In hopes of gaining some information 
from their discourse, he concealed himself behind a chest of arrows, 
and as they passed backwards and forwards, distinctly heard them 
jesting each other about divers fair dames of the country around. 
The conversation terminated in a debate whether or no the indiffer- 
ence which their governor, De Valence, manifested to the majestic 
beauties of the Countess of Mar were real or assumed, and Edwin 
gathered from the discourse that the earl and countess were treated 



severely, and confined in a large square tower in the cleft of the rock. 

Having learned all that he could expect from these officers, he 
speeded, under the friendly shadow, towards the other side of the 
citadel, and arrived just as the guard approached to relieve the sen- 
tinels of the northern postern. He laid himself close to the ground, 
and happily overheard the word of the night as it was given to the new 
watch. This providential circumstance saved his life. 

Finding no mode of regress from this place but by the postern 
at which the sentinel was stationed, or by attempting a passage 
through a small adjoining tower the door of which stood open, he 
considered a moment, and then deciding for the tower, stole unob- 
served into it. Fortunately no person was there; but Edwin found 
it full of spare arms, with two or three vacant couches in different 
corners, where, he supposed, the officers on guard occasionally re- 
posed ; several watch-cloaks lay on the floor. He readily apprehended 
the use he might make of this circumstance, and throwing one of them 
over his own shoulders, climbed to an embrasure in the wall, and forc- 
ing himself through it, dropped to a declivity on the other side which 
shelved down to the cliff, wherein he now saw the square tower. 

He had scarcely lit on firm ground when a sentinel, followed by 
two others with presented pikes, approached him and demanded the 
word. '' Mont joy r was his reply. "Why leap the embrasure?" said 
one. "Why not enter by the postern?" demanded another. The 
conversation of the officers had given him a hint on which he formed 
his answer. "Love, my brave comrades," replied he, "seldom chooses 
even ways. I go on a message from a young ensign in the keep to 
one of the Scottish damsels in yonder tower. Delay me, and his 
vengeance will fall upon us all." — "Good luck to you, my lad!" was 
their answer, and with a lightened step he hastened towards the 

Not deeming it safe to seek an interview with any of the earl's 
family, he crept along the base of the structure and across the works 
till he reached the wall that blocks up egress from the north. He 
found this formidable curtain constructed of fragments of rock, and 
for the convenience of the guard, a sloping platform from within 
led to the top of the wall. On the other side it was perpendicular. 
A solitary sentinel stood there, and how to pass him was Edwin's 
next device. To attack him would be desperate ; being one of a chain 
of guards around the fortress, his voice need only to be raised to call 
a regiment to his assistance, and Edwin must be seized on the instant. 

Aware of his danger, the adventurous youth bethought him of 
his former excuse, and remembering a flask of spirits which Ireland 


had put into his pouch on leaving Glenfinlass, he affected to be in- 
toxicated, and staggering up to the man, accosted him in the char- 
acter of a servant of the garrison. 

The sentinel did not doubt the appearance of the boy, and Edwin 
holding out the flask, said that a pretty girl in the great tower had 
not only given him a draught of the same good liquor, but had filled 
his bottle that he might not lack amusement while her companion, 
>one of Lady Mar's maids-in-waiting, was tying up a true lover's knot 
to send to his master in the garrison. The man believed Edwin's 
tale the more readily as he thrust the flask into his hand and bade him 

The unsuspecting Southron returned him a merry reply, and 
putting the flask to his head, soon drained its contents. They had 
the eff'ect Edwin desired. The soldier became flustered, and impa- 
tient of his duty. Edwin perceived it, and yawning, complained of 
drowsiness. "I would go to the top of that wall and sleep sweetly 
in the moonbeams," said he, "if any good-natured fellow would mean- 
while wait for my pretty Scot." 

The half-inebriated Southron liked no better sport; and regard- 
less of duty, he promised to draw nearer the tower, and bring from 
the fair messenger the expected token. 

Having thus far gained his point, with an apparently staggering, 
but really agile step, Edwin ascended the wall. A leap from this 
dizzy height was his only way to rejoin Wallace. To retread his 
steps through the fortress in safety would hardly be possible; and 
besides, such a mode of retreat would leave him uninformed on the 
second object of his enterprise: to know the most valuable side of 
the fortress. 

He threw himself along the summit of the wall, as if to sleep. 
He looked down, and saw nothing but the blackness of space, but 
hope buoyed him in her arms; and turning his eyes towards the sen- 
tinel, he observed him to have arrived within a few paces of the square 
tower. This was Edwin's moment. Grasping the projecting stone 
of the embattlement, and commending himself to Heaven, he threw 
himself from its summit, and fell, a fearful depth, to the cliffs be- 

Meanwhile, Wallace, having seen his brave followers depart to 
their repose, reclined himself along a pile of moss-grown stones. He 
fixed his eyes on the castle, now illumined in every part by the moon's 
luster, and considered which point would be most assailable by the 
scaling-ladders he had prepared. Every side seemed a precipice. 
The liCven surrounded it on the north and the west; the Clyde, broad 


as a sea, on the south. The only place that seemed at all accessible 
was the side next the dyke behind which he lay. Here the ascent to 
the castellated part of the rock, because most perpendicular, was 
the least guarded with outworks, and by this he determined to make 
the attempt, as soon as the setting moon should involve the garrison 
in darkness. 

While he yet mused on what might be the consequences of the 
succeeding hours, he thought he heard a cautious footstep. He raised 
himself, and laying his hand on his sword, saw a figure advancing 
towards him. 

"Who goes there?" demanded Wallace. 

"A faithful Scot," was the reply. 

Wallace recognized the voice of Edwin. "What has disturbed 
you? Why do you not take rest with the others?" 

"That we may have the surer, to-morrow," replied the youth. "I 
am just returned from the summit of yonder rock." 

"How!" interrupted Wallace; "have you scaled it alone, and are 
returned in safety?" 

"I wished to learn its most pregnable part," replied Edwin, his 
heart beating with triumph; "and particularly where the good earl 
is confined, that we might make our attack directly to the point." 

"And have you been successful?" demanded Wallace. 

"I have," was his answer. "Lord Mar and his lady are kept in 
a square tower which stands in the cleft between the two summits of 
the rock. It is not only surrounded by embattled walls, but the space 
on which it stands is bulwarked at each end by a stone curtain of 
fifteen feet high, guarded by turrets full of armed men." 

"And yet by that side you suppose we must ascend?" said Wal- 

"Certainly; for if you attempt it on the west, we should have to 
scale the watch-tower cliff, and the ascent could only be gained in 
file. An auxiliary detachment, to attack in flank, might succeed 
there; but the passage being so narrow, w^ould be too tedious for 
the whole party to arrive in time. Should we take the south, we 
must cut through the whole garrison before we could reach the earl. 
And on this side, the morass lies too near the foot of the rock to 
admit an approach without the greatest danger. But on the north, 
where I descended, by wading through part of the Leven, and climb- 
ing from cliff to cliff, I have everj^ hope you may succeed." 

Edwin recounted his progress through the fortress, and by the 
minuteness of his descriptions enforced his arguments for the north 
to be the point assailed. Closing his narrative, he explained how he 


had escaped accident in a leap of so many feet. The wall was cov- 
ered with ivy; he caught by its branches in his descent, and at last 
happily fell amongst a bed of furze. After this, he clambered down 
the steep, and fording the Leven, there only knee-deep, now ap- 
peared before his general, elate in heart and bright in valor. 

"The intrepidity of this action," returned Wallace, "merits that 
every confidence should be placed in the result of your observations. 
Your safe return is a pledge of our design being approved. This 
night, when the Lord of battles puts that fortress into our hands, 
before the whole of our little army you shall receive that knighthood 
you have so richly deserved. Such, my brother, my noble Edwin, 
shall be the reward of your toil." 

Wallace would now have sent him to repose, but animated by his 
success, and exulting in the honor which was so soon to stamp a sign 
of this exploit upon him forever, he told his leader that he felt no 
want of sleep, and would rather take on him the office of arousing 
the other captains to their stations, the moon, their preconcerted sig- 
nal, being then approaching its rest. 



KiRKPATRiCK, Murray, and Scrymgeour hastened to their com- 
mander, and in a few minutes all were under arms. Wallace ex- 
plained his altered plan of assault, and marshaling his men, led them 
in silence through the water, and along the beach which lay between 
the rock and the Leven. Arriving at the base just as the moon set, 
they began to ascend. To do this in the dark redoubled the difficulty ; 
but as Wallace had the place of every accessible stone accurately de- 
scribed to him by Edwin, he went confidently forward, followed by 
his Lanarkmen. 

He and they, being the first to mount, fixed and held the tons of 
the scaling-ladders while Kirkpatrick and Scr\migeour, with their 
men, gradually ascended and gained the bottom of the wall. Here, 
planting themselves in the crannies of the rock, under the impenetrable 
darkness of the night, they awaited the signal for the final ascent. 

Meanwhile, Edwin led Lord Andrew with his followers, and the 
Eraser men, round by the western side to. mount the watch-tower 
rock, and seize the few soldiers who kept the beacon. As a signal 
of having succeeded, they were to smother the flame on the top of 
the tower, and thence descend towards the garrison, to meet Wallace 
before the prison of the Earl of ]Mar. 

While the men of Lanark, with their eyes fixed on the burning 
beacon, in deadly stillness watched the appointed signal for the at- 
tack, Wallace, by the aid of his dagger, which he struck into the firm 
soil that occupied the cracks in the rock, drew himself up almost 
parallel with the top of the great wall which clasped the bases of the 
two hills. He listened ; not a voice was to be heard in the garrison of 
all the legions he had so lately seen glittering on its battlements. 

He looked up, and fixing his eyes on the beacon-flame, thought 
he saw the figures of men pass before it; the next moment all was 
darkness. He sprang on the wall ; and feeling, by the touch of hands 
about his feet, that his brave followers had already mounted their 
ladders, he grasped his sword firmly and leaped down on the ground 
within. In that moment he struck against the sentinel, who was just 
passing, and by the violence of the shock struck him to the earth; but 


the man, as he fell, catching Wallace round the waist, dragged him 
down, and shouted "Treason!" 

Several sentinels ran with leveled pikes to the spot, the adjacent 
turrets emptied themselves of their armed inhabitants, and all as- 
saulted Wallace just as he had extricated himself from the grasp of 
the prostrate soldier. 

"Who are you?" demanded they. 

"Your enemy," and the speaker fell at his feet with one stroke of 
his sword. 

"Alarm! Treason!" resounded from the rest, as they aimed their 
random strokes at the conquering chief. But he was now assisted 
by the vigorous arm of Ker and of several I^anarkmen, who, having 
cleared the wall, were dealing about blows in the darkness which 
filled the air with groans. 

One or two Southrons, whose courage was not equal to their cau- 
tion, fled to arouse the garrison; and just as the whole of Wallace's 
men leaped the wall and rallied to his support, the inner ballium 
gate burst open, and a legion of foes, bearing torches, issued to the 
contest. With horrible threatenings they came on, and by a rapid 
movement surrounded Wallace and his little company. But his 
soul brightened in danger, and his men, warmed with the same spirit, 
stood firm with fixed pikes, receiving without injury the assault. 
Wallace fought in front, making a dreadful passage through the 
falling ranks, while the tremendous sweep of his sword, flashing in 
the intermitting light, warned the survivors where the avenging blade 
would next descend. The platform was cleared; and the fallen 
torches, some half-extinguished, and others flaming on the ground by 
the sides of the dead, showed a few terrified wretches seeking safety 
in flight. The same lurid rays, casting a transitory light on the 
iron gratings of the great tower, informed Wallace that the heat of 
conflict had drawn him to the prison of the earl. 

"We are now near the end of this night's work," cried he. "Let 
us press forward, to give freedom to the Earl of Mar." 

"Liberty and Lord Mar!" cried Kirkpatrick, rushing onward. 
He was immediately followed by his own men, but not quick enough 
for his daring. The guard in the tower, hearing the outcry, issued 
from the flanking gates, and, surrounding him, took him prisoner. 

"If there be might in your arms," roared he with the voice of 
a lion, "men of Loch Doine, rescue your leader!" 

They hurried forward with yells of defiance, but the strength 
of the garrison, awakened by the flying wretches from the defeat, 
turned out all its power, and, with De Valence at their head, pouring 


on Kirkpatrick's men, would have overpowered them had not Wallace 
and his sixty heroes, with desperate determination, cut a passage to 
them through the closing ranks. 

Scrymgeour, at the head of the Loch Doine men, in vain attempted 
to reach this contending party ; and fearful of losing the royal stand- 
ard, he was turning to make a valiant retreat, when Murray and 
Edwin, having disengaged their followers from the precipices of 
the beacon rock, rushed into the fray, striking their shields and utter- 
ing the inspiring slogan of "Wallace and freedom!" It was re- 
echoed by every Scot; those that were flying returned; and the ter- 
rible thunder of the word pealing from rank to rank struck a terror 
into De Valence's men which made them pause. The extinction of 
the beacon made them still more aghast. 

On that moment turned the crisis of their fate. Wallace cut his 
way forward through the dismayed Southrons, who, hearing the 
shouts of the fresh reenforcement, knew not whether its strength 
might not be thousands instead of hundreds. Surrounded, mixed 
with their assailants, they knew not friends from foes; and each in- 
dividual being bent on flight, they indiscriminately cut to right and 
left, and finally, after slaughtering half their companions, some few 
escaped through the small posterns of the garrison, leaving the inner 
ballia entirely in possession of the foe. 

The whole of the field being cleared, Wallace ordered the tower 
to be forced. A strong guard was still within, and as the assailants 
drew near, every means were used to render their assaults abortive. 
As the Scots pressed to the main entrance, stones and heavy metals 
were thrown upon their heads; but not in the least intimidated, they 
stood beneath the iron shower till Wallace ordered them to drive a 
large felled tree, which lay on the ground, against the hinges of the 
door: it burst open, and the whole party rushed into the hall. 

A short, sanguinary, but decisive conflict took place. The hauberk 
and plaid of Wallace were dyed from head to foot ; his own blood and 
the stream from his enemies mingled in one hue upon his garments. 

"Wallace! Wallace!" cried the stentorian lungs of Kirkpatrick. 
in a moment Wallace was at his side and found him wrestling with 
two men. The light of a single lamp suspended from the rafters fell 
direct upon the combatants. A dagger was pointed at the life of the 
old knight, but Wallace laid the holder of it dead across the body of 
his intended victim, and catching the other assailant by the throat, 
threw him prostrate to the ground. 

"Spare me, for the honor of knighthood!" cried the conquered. 

"For my honor, you shall die!" cried Kirkpatrick. His sword 


was already at the heart of the Englishman. Wallace beat it back. 
"Kirkpatrick, he is my prisoner, and I give him life." 

"You know not what you do," cried the old knight, struggling 
with Wallace to release his sword-arm. "This is De Valence!" 

"Quarter!" reiterated the panting and hard-pressed earl. "Noble 
Wallace, my life, for I am wounded!" 

"Sooner take my own," cried the determined Kirkpatrick, fixing 
his foot on the neck of the prostrate man, and trying to wrench his 
hand from the grasp of his commander. 

"Shame!" cried Wallace; "you must strike through me to kill any 
wounded man I hear cry for quarter. Release the earl, for your own 

"Our safety lies in his destruction," cried Kirkpatrick; and, en- 
raged at opposition, he thrust his commander, little expecting such an 
action, from off the body of the earl. De Valence seized his advan- 
tage, and catching Kirkpatrick by the limb that pressed on him, over- 
threw him, and by a sudden spring, turning quickly on Wallace, struck 
his dagger into his side. All this was done in an instant. Wallace 
did not fall, but, staggering with the weapon sticking in the wound, 
he could not give the alarm till its perpetrator had disappeared. 

The flying earl took his course through a narrow passage between 
the works, and proceeding swiftly towards the south, issued safely at 
one of the outer gates, and thence he made his escape in a fisher's 
boat across the Clyde. 

Meanwhile, Wallace, having recovered himself, just as the Scots 
brought in lighted torches from the lower apartments of the tower, 
saw Sir Roger Kirkpatrick leaning on his sword, and the young 
Edwin coming forward in garments too nearly the hue of his own. 
Andrew ^Murray stood already by his side. Wallace's hand was upon 
the hilt of the dagger which the ungrateful De Valence had left in his 
breast. "You are wounded, you are slain!" cried Murray, in a voice of 
consternation. Edwin stood motionless with horror. 

"That dagger," exclaimed Scrymgeour 

"Has done nothing," replied Wallace, "but let me a little more 
blood." As he spoke he drew it out, and tlu'usting the corner of his 
scarf into his bosom, stanched the wound. 

"So is your mercy rewarded," exclaimed Kirkpatrick. 

"So I am true to a soldier's duty," returned Wallace, "though 
De Valence is a traitor to his." 

"You treated him as a man," replied Kirkpatrick; "but now you 
find him a treacherous fiend." 

"Your eagerness, my brave friend," returned Wallace, "has lost 


him as a prisoner. If not for humanity or honor, for poHcy's sake, 
we ought to have spared his hfe, and detained him an hostage for our 
own countrymen in England." 

Kirkpatrick remembered how his violence had released the earl, 
and he looked down abashed. Wallace, perceiving it, continued, "But 
let us not abuse our time discoursing on a coward. He is gone, the 
fortress is ours, and our first measure must be to guard it from 

As he spoke his eyes fell upon Edwin, who, having recovered from 
the shock of INIurray's exclamation, had brought forward the surgeon 
of their little band. A few minutes bound up the w^ounds of their 
chief, even while beckoning the anxious boy towards him. "Brave 
youth," cried he, "you who at the risk of your own life explored these 
heights that you might render our ascent more sure, you who have 
fought like a young lion in this unequal contest, here, in the face of all 
your valiant comrades, receive that knighthood which derives luster 
from your virtues." 

Edwin bent his knee, and Wallace giving him the hallowed acco- 
late, the young knight rose from his position with all the roses of 
his springing fame glowing in his countenance. Scrymgeour pre- 
sented him the knightly girdle, which he unbraced from his own loins; 
and while the happy boy received the sword to which it was attached 
he exclaimed, "While I follow the example before my eyes I shall 
never draw this in an unjust cause, nor ever sheathe it in a just one." 

"Go, then," returned Wallace, smiling his approval of this senti- 
ment; "while work is to be done I will keep my knight to the toil; go, 
and with twenty men of Lanark, guard the wall by which we as- 

Edwin disappeared, and Wallace, having despatched detachments 
to occupy other parts of the garrison, took a torch in his hand, and 
turning to Murray proposed seeking the Earl of jNIar. Lord Andrew 
was soon at the iron door which led from the hall to the principal stairs. 

"We must have our friendly battering-ram here," cried he; "a 
close prisoner do they indeed keep my uncle, when even the inner doors 
are bolted on him." 

The men dragged the tree forward, and striking it against the 
iron it burst open with the noise of thunder. Shrieks from within fol- 
lowed the sound. The women of Lady Mar, hearing the door forced, 
expected that some new enemies were advancing, and giving them- 
selves up to despair they flew into the room where the countess sat in 
equal terror. 

At the shouts of the Scots when they began the attack the earl 


had started from his couch. "That is not peace," said he; "there is 
some surprise." 

"Alas, from whom?" returned Lady Mar; "who would venture to 
attack a fortress like this garrisoned with thousands?" 

The cry was repeated. 

"It is the slogan of Sir WilHam Wallace!" cried he; "I shall be 
free! Oh for a sword!" 

As the shouts redoubled and mingled with the various clangors of 
battle, the impatience of the earl could not be restrained. Hope and 
eagerness seemed to have dried up his wounds, and unarmed as he 
was, he hurried down the stairs vvhich led to the iron door. He found 
it so firmly fastened by bars and padlocks he could not move it. Again 
he ascended to his terrified wife, who, conscious how little obligation 
Wallace owed to her, perhaps dreaded even more to see her husband's 
hopes realized than to find herself yet more rigidly the prisoner of 
the haughty De Valence. 

"Joanna," cried he, "the arm of God is with us! My prayers are 
heard; Scotland will yet be free! Hear those groans, — those shouts! 
Victory ! Victory !" 

As he thus echoed the cry of triumph uttered by the Scots when 
bursting open the outer gate of the tower, the foundations of the 
building shook, and Lady Mar, almost insensible with terror, received 
the exhausted body of her husband into her arms; he fainted from 
the transport his weakened frame was unable to bear. Soon after 
this the stair door was forced, and the panic-struck women ran shriek- 
ing into the room to their mistress. 

The countess could not speak, but sat pale and motionless, sup- 
porting his head on her bosom. Guided by the noise, Lord Andrew 
flew into the room, and rushing towards his uncle, fell at his feet. 
"Liberty! Liberty!" was all he'could say. His words pierced the ear 
of the earl like a voice from heaven, and looking up, without a word 
he threw his arms round the neck of his nephew. 

Tears reheved the contending feelings of the countess, and the 
women, recognizing the young Lord of Bothwell, retired into a distant 
corner, well assured they had now no cause for fear. 

The earl rested but a moment on the breast of his nephew, when, 
gazing round to seek the mighty leader of the band, he saw Wallace 
enter with triumph in his eyes. 

"Ever my deliverer!" cried the venerable Mar, stretching forth 
his arms. The next instant he held Wallace to his breast, and remem- 
bering all that he had lost for his sake since they parted, a soldier's 
heart melted, and he burst into tears. "Wallace, my preserver, who, 


by the sacrifice of all thou didst hold dear on earth, art made a blessing 
to thy country, receive my thanks and my heart!" 

Wallace felt all in his soul which the earl meant to imply, but when 
he raised himself and Teplied to the acknowledgments of the countess, 
it was with a serene though glowing countenance. 

She, when she had glanced from her nephew to the advancing hero, 
looked as Venus did when she beheld the god of war rise from a field 
of blood. She started at the appearance of Wallace; but it was not 
his garments dropping gore, nor the blood-stained falchion in his 
hand, that caused the new sensation : it was the figure, breathing youth 
and manhood ; it was the face, where every noble passion of the heart 
had stamped themselves on his perfect features. All these struck 
at once upon the sight of Lady JNIar and made her exclaim within 
herself, "This is a wonder of man! This is the hero that is to humble 

This passed through the mind of the countess in less time than 
it has been repeated, and she exclaimed to herself, "Helen, thou wert 
right; thy gratitude was prophetic of a matchless object, while I, 
wretch that I was, gave information against my husband, that this 
man, the cause of all, might be secured or slain." 

Just as the last idea struck her, Wallace rose from the embrace 
of his venerable friend and met the eye of the countess. She stam- 
mered forth a few expressions of obligation; he attributed her con- 
fusion to the surprise of the moment, and replying to her respectfully, 
turned again to the earl. 

The joy of the venerable chief was unbounded when he found 
that a handful of Scots had put two thousand Southrons to flight, and 
gained entire possession of the castle. Wallace, having satisfied his 
questions, gladly perceived the morning light. He rose from his seat. 
"I shall take a temporary leave of you, my lord," said he to the earl. 
"I must now visit my brave comrades at their posts, and see the colors 
of Scotland planted on the citadel." 



When Wallace withdrew, Lady Mar, who had detained Murray, 
whispered to liim that she should like to be present at the planting of 
the standard. Lord Mar declared his willingness to accompany her 
to the spot, and added, "I can be supported thither by the arm of 
Andrew." IMurray hesitated. "It will be impossible for my aunt to 
go ; the hall below and the ground before the tower are covered with 

"Let them be cleared away," cried she, "for I cannot consent to 
be deprived of a spectacle so honorable to my country." 

JMurray regarded the indifference with which she gave this order 
with amazement. "To do that, madam," said he, "is beyond my 
power; the whole ceremony of the colors would be completed long 
before I could clear the hearth of half its bleeding load. I will seek a 
passage for you by way." 

Before the earl could make a remark, ISIurray had disappeared, 
and after exploring the lower part of the tower in unavailing search 
for a way, he met Sir Roger Kirkpatrick issuing from a small door, 
which he had hitherto overlooked. It led through the ballium to the 
platform before the citadel. Lord Andrew returned to his uncle and 
aunt, and informing them of this discovery, gave his arm to Lord Mar, 
while Kirkpatrick. led forward the agitated countess. 

When they approached the citadel, Wallace and Sir Alexander 
Scrymgeour had just gained its summit. The standard of Edward 
was yet flying. Wallace looked at it for a moment, then laying his 
hand on the staif , "Down, thou red dragon," cried he. Even while 
speaking he rent it from the roof, and casting it over the battlements, 
planted the Lion of Scotland in its stead. 

As it floated on the air, the loud clarion of honest triumph burst 
from every heart, horn, and trumpet below. It was a shout that 
pierced the skies and entered the soul of Wallace with a bliss which 
seemed a promise of immortality. 

Feeling as if no eye looked on him but that of Heaven, he 
dropped on his knee, and rising again, took Sir Alexander by the 
hand. "My brave friend," said he, "we have here planted the tj-ee of 



freedom in Scotland. Should I die in its defense, swear to bury me 
under its branches." 

"I swear," cried Scrymgeour, laying his crossed hands upon the 
arm of Wallace, — "I swear with a double vow: by the blood of my 
brave ancestors, and by your valiant self, never to sheathe my sword 
until Scotland be entirely free!" 

The colors fixed, Wallace and his brave colleague descended the 
tower, and perceiving the earl and countess, who sat on a stone bench 
at the end of a platform, approached them. The countess rose as the 
chiefs drew near. Lord Mar took his friend by the hand; his lady 
spoke, hardly conscious of what she said; and Wallace, after a few 
minutes' discourse, proposed to the earl to retire with Lady Mar into 
the citadel, where she would be more suitably lodged than in their late 
prison. Lord Mar was obeying this movement when, suddenly stop- 
ping, he exclaimed, "But where is that wondrous boy — your pilot over 
these perilous rocks? Let me give him a soldier's thanks." 

Happy at so grateful a demand, Wallace beckoned Edwin, who, 
just relieved from his guard, was standing at some distance. "Here," 
said he, "is my knight of fifteen, for last night he proved himself more 
worthy of his spurs than many a man who has received them from a 

"He shall wear those of a king," rejoined the Lord Mar, unbuck- 
ling from his feet a pair of golden spurs. "These were fastened on 
my heels by our great King Alexander, at the battle of Largs. I 
had intended them for my only son ; but the first knight in the cause 
of rescued Scotland is the son of my heart and soul." 

As he spoke he would have pressed the young hero to his breast, 
but Edwin, trembling with emotion, slid down upon his knees, and 
clasping the earl's hand, said in a hardly audible voice, "Receive and 
pardon the truant son of your sister Ruthven." 

"What!" exclaimed the veteran, "is it Edwin Ruthven that has 
brought me this weight of honor? Come to my arms, thou dearest 
child of my dearest Janet!" 

The uncle and nephew were folded in each other's embrace. 
Edwin murmured a short explanation in the ear of his uncle, and then 
rising from his arms, with his beautiful face glittering like an April 
day in tears, allowed his gay cousin ISIurray to buckle the royal spurs 
on his feet. The rite over, he kissed Lord Andrew's hand, in token of 
acknowledgment, and called on Sir William Wallace to bless the new 
honors conferred on his knight. 

Wallace turned towards Edwin with a smile. "Have we not per- 
formed our mutual promises?" said he. "I brought you to the spot 


where you were to reveal your name, and you have declared it to me 
by the voice of glory. Come, then, my brother, let us leave your 
uncle awhile to seek his repose." 

As he spoke he bowed to the countess, and Edwin joyfully receiv- 
ing his arm, they walked together towards the eastern postern. 

Agitated with the surprise of thus meeting his favorite sister's 
son, and exhausted by his emotions, the earl readily acquiesced in a 
proposal for rest, and leaning on Lord Andrew proceeded to the 

Murray led the way into the apartments lately occupied by De 
Valence. They were furnished with all the luxury of a Southron 
nobleman. Lady Mar cast her eyes around the splendid chamber, 
and seated herself on one of its tapestried couches. The earl, not 
marking whether it were silk or rushes, placed himself beside her. 

"My dear Andrew," said the earl, "in the midst of this rejoicing 
there is yet a canker at my heart. Tell me that when my beloved 
Helen disappeared in the tumult at Bothwell she was under your 

"She was," rephed Murray, "and I thank the holy Saint Fillan 
she is now in the sanctuary of his church." 

Murray then recounted to his uncle every event, from the moment 
of his withdrawing behind the arras to that of his confiding the English 
soldier with the iron box to the care of the prior. Lord Mar sighed 
heavily when he spoke of that mysterious casket. "Whatever it con- 
tain," said he, "it has drawn after it much evil and much good. The 
domestic peace of Wallace was ruined by it, and the spirit which now 
restores Scotland to herself was raised by his wrongs." 

"But tell me," added he, "do you think my daughter safe so near 
a garrison of the enemy?" 

"Surely, my lord," cried the countess, remembering the enthusi- 
asm with which Helen had regarded even the unknown Wallace, — 
"surely you would not bring that tender child into a scene like this. 
Rather send a messenger to convey her secretly to Thirlestan ; at that 
distance she will be safe, and under the powerful protection of her 

The earl acquiesced in her opinion, and saying he would consult 
with Wallace about the securest mode of travel for his daughter, again 
turned to Lord Andrew to learn further of their late proceedings. 
But the countess, still uneasy, once more interrupted him. 

"Alas! my lord, what would you do? His generous zeal will offer 
to go in person for your daughter. If you really feel the weight of 
the evils into which you have plunged Sir William Wallace, do not 


increase it by even hinting to him the present subject of your anxiety." 

"My aunt is an oracle," resumed Murray. "Allow me to be the 
happy knight that is to bear the surrender of Dumbarton to my sweet 
cousin. Prevail on Wallace to remain in this garrison till I return, 
and then full tilt for the walls of old Stirling and the downfall of 
Hughie Cressingham!" 

Both the countess and the earl were pleased with this arrange- 
ment. The latter retired to repose, and the former desired Lord 
Andrew to inform Wallace that she should expect to be honored 
with his presence at noon to partake of such fare as the garrison 

On Murray's coming from the citadel he learnt that Wallace was 
gone towards the great tower. He followed him thither, and on issu- 
ing from the postern which led to that part of the rock saw the chief 
standing with his helmet off in the midst of the slain. 

"This is a sorry sight," said he to Murray as he approached; "but 
it shall not long lie thus exposed. I have just ordered that these sad 
wrecks of human strife may be lowered into the Clyde, its rushing 
stream will soon carry them to a quiet grave beneath yon peaceful 
sea." His own dead, .amounting to no more than fifteen, were to be 
buried at the foot of the rock, a prisoner in the castle having described 
steps in the cliff by which the solemnity could easily be performed. 

"But why, my dear commander," cried Lord Andrew, "why do 
you take any thought about our enemies? Leave them where they 
are, and the eagles of our mountains will soon find them graves." 

"For shame, Murray!" was the reply of Wallace; "they are dead, 
and our enemies no more. They are men like ourselves, and shall we 
deny them a place in that earth whence we all sprung?" 

"I know," replied Lord Andrew, blushing, "that I am often the 
assertor of my own folly, and- 1 do not know how you will forgive my 
inconsiderate impertinence." 

"Because it was inconsiderate," replied Wallace. "Inhumanity is 
too stern a guest to live in such a breast as yours." 

"If I ever give her quarters," replied Murray, "I should most 
wofully disgrace the companion she would meet there. Next to the 
honor of fair Scotland, my cousin Helen is the goddess of my idolatry, 
and she would forswear my kindred could she believe me capable of 
feeling otherwise than in unison with Sir William Wallace." 

Wallace looked towards him with pleasure in his countenance. 
"Your fair cousin does me honor." 

"Ah, my noble friend!" cried Murray, lowering his gay tone to 


one of softer expression; "if you knew all the goodness that dwells 
in her gentle heart, you would love her as I do." 

The blood fled from the cheek of Wallace. "Not as you do, 
Murray ; I can no more love woman as you love her. Such scenes as 
these," cried he, turning to the Tmangled bodies which the men were 
now carrying away to the precipice of the Clyde, "have divorced 
woman's love from my heart. I am all my country's, or I am nothing." 

"Nothing!" reiterated Murray, laying his hand upon that of Wal- 
lace. "Is the friend of mankind, the champion of Scotland, the 
beloved of a thousand valuable hearts, nothing?" 

Wallace looked upon Murray with an expression of mingled feel- 
ings. "May I be all this, my friend, and Wallace must yet be happy! 
But speak not to me of love and woman ; tell me not of those endearing 
qualities I have prized too tenderly, and which are now buried to me 
forever beneath the ashes of Ellerslie." 

"Not under the ashes of Ellerslie," cried Murray, "sleep the re- 
mains of your lovely wife." Wallace's penetrating eye turned quick 
upon him. Murray continued: "My cousin's pitying soul stretched 
itself towards them; by her directions they were brought from your 
oratory in the rock and deposited with all holy rites in the cemetery 
at Bothwell." 

The glow that now animated the heart of Wallace overspread his 
face. His eyes spoke volumes of gratitude, and, fervently pressing 
the hand of Murray, he turned away and walked towards the cliff. 

When all the slain were lowered to their last beds, a young priest, 
who came in the company of Scrymgeour, gave the funeral benedic- 
tion, both to the departed in the waves and those whom the shore had 
received. The rites over, Murray again drew near to Wallace and 
delivered his aunt's message. "I shall obey her commands," returned 
he; "but first we must visit our wounded prisoners in the tower." 

Murray gladly obeyed the impulse of his leader's arm, and they 
entered the tower. Ireland welcomed Wallace with the intelligence 
that he hoped he had succored friends instead of foes; for that mosf 
of the prisoners were poor Welsh peasants whom Edward had torn 
from their mountains to serve in his legions, and a few Irish, who in 
eagerness for adventure had enlisted in his ranks. "I have shown to 
them," continued Ireland, "what fools they are to injure themselves 
in us. They only require your presence, my lord, to forswear their 
former leaders and to enlist under Scottish banners." 

"Thou art an able orator, my good Stephen," returned Wallace; 
"and whatever promises thou hast made to honest men in the name 


of Scotland, we are ready to ratify them. Is it not so?" added he, 
turning to Kirkpatrick and Scrymgeour. 

"All as you will," replied they in one voice. "Yes," added Kirk- 
patrick, "you were the first to rise for Scotland, and who but you has 
a right to command her?" 

Ireland threw open the door which led into the hall, and there, on 
the ground, on pallets of straw, lay most of the wounded Southrons. 
Some of their dimmed eyes had discerned their preserver when he 
discovered them expiring on the rock, and on sight of him now they 
uttered such a piercing cry of gratitude that, surprised, he stood for 
a moment. In that moment five or six of the poor wounded wretches 
crawled to his feet. "Our enemy! our preserver!" burst from their 
lips as they kissed the edge of his plaid. 

"Not to me, not to me!" exclaimed Wallace; "I am a soldier like 
yourselves. I have only acted a soldier's part: but I am a soldier of 
freedom ; you, of a tjn-ant who seeks to enslave the world. This lays 
you at my feet, when I would more willingly receive you to my arms 
as brothers in one generous cause." 

"We are yours," was the answering exclamation of those who knelt 
and of those who raised their feebler voices from their beds of straw. 

"To this we also subjoin," cried several other men, who comprised 
the whole of the English prisoners. 

"Noble people," cried Wallace, "why have you not a king worthy 
of you!" 

"And yet," observed Kirkpatrick, in a surly tone, "Heselrigge was 
one of these people." Wallace turned upon him with a look of so 
tremendous a meaning that he fell back a few paces muttering curses, 
but on whom could not be heard. 

"That man would arouse the tiger in our lion-hearted chief," whis- 
pered ScrjTTigeour to Murray. 

"Ay," returned Lord Andrew; "but the royal spirit keeps the 
beast in awe, — see how that bold brow noAv bows before it." 

Wallace marked the impression his glance had made, but where he 
had struck, being unwilling to pierce also, he dispelled the thunder 
from his countenance, and once more looking on Sir Roger with a 
frank serenity, "Come," said he, "my good knight, you must not be 
more tenacious for WilHam Wallace than he is for himself. While 
he possesses such a zealous friend as Kirkpatrick, of Torthorald, he 
need not now fear the arms of a thousand Heselrigges." 

"No, nor of Edwards either," cried Kirkpatrick, once more look- 
ing boldly up and shaking his claymore. "^ly thistle has a point to 


sting all to the death who would pass between this arm and my leader's 

"May Heaven long preserve the valiant Wallace!" was the prayer 

of every feeble voice, as he left the hall to visit his own wounded in 

an upper chamber. The interview was short and satisfactory. "All, 

sir," cried one of them, "I cannot tell how it is, but when I see you 

jl feel as if I beheld the very soul of my country standing before me." 

"You see an honest Scot standing before you, my good Duncan," 
replied Wallace; "and that is no mean personage, for it is one who 
knows no use of his life but as it fulfils his duty to his country." 

"Oh that the sound of that voice could penetrate to every ear in 
Scotland!" rejoined the soldier; "it would be more than the call of the 
trumpet to bring them to the field." 

"And from the summit of this rock many have already heard it, 
and more shall be so aroused," cried Murray, returning from the door, 
to which one of his men had beckoned him. "Here is a man come to 
announce that Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, passing by the foot of this 
rock, saw the Scottish standard flying from its citadel; and overjoyed 
at the sight, he sends to request the confidence of being admitted." 

"Let me bring him hither," interrupted Kirkpatrick; "he is brave 
as the day, and will be a noble auxiliary." 

"Every true Scot must be welcome to these walls," returned 

Kirkpatrick hastened from the tower to the northern side of the 
rock, at the foot of which stood the earl and his train. With all the 
pride of a freeman and a victor Sir Roger descended the height. 
Lennox advanced to meet him. "What is it I see? Sir Roger Kirk- 
patrick master of this citadel, and our king's colors flying from its 
towers ! Where is Earl de Valence? Where the English garrison?" 

"The English garrison," replied Kirkpatrick, "is now beneatli 
the waters of the Clyde. De Valence is fled ; and this fortress, manned 
with a few hardy Scots, shall sink into yon waves ere it again bear 
the English dragon on its walls." 

"And you, noble knight," cried Lennox, "have achieved all this! 
You are the dawn to a blessed day for Scotland." 

"No," replied Kirkpatrick; "I am but a follower of the man who 
has struck the blow. Sir William Wallace, of Ellerslie, is our chief; 
and with the power of his virtues he subdues not only friends but 
enemies to his command." 

He then exultingly narrated the events of the last four and twenty 
hours. The earl listened with wonder and joy. "What!" cried he, 
"so noble a plan for Scotland and I ignorant of it? I, that have not 


waked day nor night for many a month without dreaming of some 
enterprise to free my country, and behold it is achieved in a moment! 
Lead me, worthy knight,- — lead me to your chief, for he shall be mine 
too; he shall command JVIalcolm Lennox and all his clan." 

Kirkpatrick gladly turned to obey him, and they mounted the 
ascent together. Within the barbican gate stood Wallace, with 
Scrymgeour and Murray. The earl knew Scrymgeour well, having 
often seen him in the field as hereditary standard-bearer of the king- 
dom ; of the persons of the others he was ignorant. 

"There is Wallace!" exclaimed Kirkpatrick. 

"Not one of those very young men?" interrogated the earl. 

"Even so," was the answer of the knight; "but gray beards are glad 
to bow before his golden locks, for beneath them is wisdom." 

As he spoke they entered the barbican, and Wallace, whom the 
penetrating eye of Lennox had already singled out for the chief, 
advanced to meet his guest. 

"Earl," said he, "you are welcome to Dumbarton castle." 

"Bravest of my countrymen!" returned Lennox, clasping him in 
his arms, "receive a soldier's embrace; accept my services, my arms, my 
men; my all I devote to Scotland and the great cause." 

Wallace for a moment did not answer, but straining the earl to 
his breast, said, as he released him, "Such support will give sinews to 
our power. A few months, and with the blessing of Heaven we shall 
see Scotland at liberty." 

"And may Heaven, brave Wallace," exclaimed Lennox, "grant 
us thine arm to wield its scythe ! But how have you accomplished this? 
How have your few overthrown this English host?" 

"He strikes home when right points his sword," replied Wallace. 
"We feared nothing, for God was with us, and in his might we con- 

"And shall yet conquer," cried Lennox, kindling with the enthu- 
siasm that blazed from the eyes of Wallace; "I feel the strength^ of 
our cause, and from this hour I devote myself to assert it or to die." 

"Not to die, my noble lord," said Murray; "we have yet many an 
eve to dance over the buried fetters of Scotland. And as a beginning 
of our jollities, I must remind our leader that my aunt's board awaits 

Lord Lennox understood from this address it was the brave 
Murray who spoke to him, for he had heard sufficient from Sir Roger 
Kirkpatrick to explain how the Countess of Mar and her patriot hus- 
band came within those walls. 

The countess, having arrayed herself with all her powers to receive 


her deliverer, awaited the hour of his arrival with emotion at her 
heart. All others were lost to her impatient eyes, and hastily rising 
from the window as the chiefs entered the porch she crossed the room 
to meet them at tlie door. 

The Earl of Lennox stood amazed at sight of so much beauty and 
splendor in such a scene. Lady IMar had attained her thirty-fifth 
year, but from the graces of her person and the address with which she 
set forth all her charms, the enchanted gazer found it impossible to 
suppose her more than three or four and twenty. Thus happily 
formed by nature, and habited in a suit of velvet overlaid with cyprus- 
work of gold, blazing with jewels about her head, and her feet clad 
in silver-fretted sandals, Lennox thought she looked more like some 
triumphant queen than a wife who had so lately shared captivity with 
an outlawed husband. Murray started at such magnificence; but Wal- 
lace scarcely observed it was anything unusual, and bowing to her, 
presented the Earl of Lennox. She smiled, and saying a few words 
of welcome to the earl, gave her hand to Wallace to lead her back into 
the chamber. 

Lord Mar had risen from his seat, and leaning on his sword, stood 
up on their entrance. At sight of Lord Lennox he uttered an excla- 
mation of glad surprise. Lennox embraced him. "I too am come to 
enlist under the banners of this young Leonidas." 

"God armeth the patriot," was all the reply that Mar made, and 
he shook him by the hand. 

"I have four hundred stout Lennoxmen," continued the earl, "who 
by to-morrow's eve shall be ready to follow our leader to the very 

"Not so soon," interrupted the countess; "our deliverer needs 

"I thank your benevolence, Lady Mar," returned Wallace; "but 
the issue of last night, and the sight of Lord Lennox this day witli 
the promise of so great a support, are such ahments that — we must 
go forward." 

"Aye, to be sure," joined Kirkpatrick, "Dumbarton was not taken 
during our sleep; and if we stay loitering here, the devil that holds 
Stirling castle may follow the scent of De Valence, and so I lose my 

"What!" cried the countess, "and is my lord to be left again to his 
enemies? Sir William Wallace, I should have thought " 

"Everything, madam," rejoined he, "that is demonstrative of my 
devotion to your venerable lord. But with a brave garrison I hope 


you will consider him safe here until a wider range of security enable 
you to retire to Braemar." 

As the words to AVallace in the latter part of the countess' speech 
liad been spoken in rather a low voice, his reply was made in a similar 
tone, so that Lord Mar did not hear any part of the answer except the 
concluding words. But then he exclaimed, "Nay, my ever-fearful 
Joanna, art thou making objections to keeping garrison here?" 

"I confess," replied Wallace, "that an armed citadel is not the 
most pleasant abode for a lady; but at present, excepting perhaps the 
church, it is the sftfest; and I would not advise your lady to remove 
hence until the plain be made as free as this mountain." 

The sewer now announced the board in the hall, and the countess, 
leading the way, reluctantly gave her hand to the Earl of Lennox. 
Lord Mar leaned on the arm of Wallace, who was followed by Edwin 
and the other chieftains. 



During the repast the countess often fixed her gaze on the manly 
countenance of the heroic Wallace. His plumed helmet was now laid 
aside, and the heavy corselet unbuckled from his breast, disclosed the 
symmetry of his fine form, displayed with advantage by the flexible 
folds of his simple tartan vest. Was it the formidable Wallace she 
looked on — bathed in the blood of Heselrigge, and breathing ven- 
geance against the adherents of the tyrant Edward? It was, then, 
the enemy of her kinsmen of the House of Cummin. It was the man 
for whom her husband had embraced so many dangers. But where 
now was the rebel, the ruiner of her peace, the outlaw whom she had 
wished in his grave? 

The last idea was distraction. She could have fallen at his feet 
and, bathing them with her tears, have implored his pity and forgive- 
ness. Even as the wish sprang in her mind, she asked herself, "Did 
he know all, could he pardon such a weight of injuries?" 

Lady Mar found her situation so strange, and her agitation so 
inexplicable, that feeling it impossible to remain longer without giv- 
ing way to a burst of tears, she rose from her seat, and forcing a smile 
with her curtsey to the company, left the room. 

On gaining the upper apartment she threw herself along the 
nearest couch, and striking her breast, exclaimed, "What is this within 
me? How does my soul seem to pour itself out to this man! Only 
twelve hours — hardly twelve hours, have I seen this WilHam Wallace, 
and yet my very being is now lost in his !" 

She grew silent; but thoughts not less intense, not less fraught 
with self-reproach, occupied her mind. Should this god of her idolatry 
ever discover that it was her information which had sent Earl de 
Valence's men to surround him in the mountains ; should he ever learn 
that at Bothwell she had betrayed the cause on which he had set his 
life, — she felt that moment would be her last. 

To defer his departure was all her study ; and fearful that his valor 
might urge him to accompany Murray in his intended convoy of 
Helen to the Tweed, she determined to persuade her nephew to set 
off without the knowledge of his general. She did not allow that it 



was the youthful beauty and more lovely mind of her daughter-in-law 
which she feared. Even to herself she cloaked her alarm under the 
excuse of care for the chieftain's safety. Composed by this arrange- 
ment, her features became smooth, and with a sedate air she received 
her lord and his brave friends when they soon after entered the 

But the object of her wishes did not appear. Wallace had taken 
Lord Lennox to view the dispositions of the fortress. Ill satisfied as 
she was with his prolonged absence, she did not fail to turn it to advan- 
tage; and while her lord and his friends were examining a draft of 
Scotland, which Wallace had sketched after she left the banqueting- 
room, she took Lord Andrew aside to converse with him on the subject 
now nearest to her heart. 

"It certainly belongs to me alone, her kinsman and friend, to 
protect Helen to the Tweed, if there she must go," returned Murray; 
"but, my good lady, I cannot comprehend why I am to lead my fair 
cousin such a pilgrimage. She is not afraid of heroes; you are safe 
in Dumbarton, and why not bring her here also?" 

"Not for worlds!" exclaimed the countess, thrown off her guard. 
Murray looked at her with surprise. It recalled her to self-possession, 
and she resumed. "So lovely a creature in this castle would be a 
dangerous magnet. You must have known that it was the hope of 
obtaining her which attracted the Lord Soulis and Earl de Valence to 
Bothwell. The whole castle rung with the quarrel of these two lords 
upon her account, when you so fortunately effected her escape. 
Should it be known that she is here, the same fierce desire of obtaining 
her would give double excitement to De Valence to recover the place; 
and the consequences, who can answer for?" 

By this argument Murray was persuaded to relinquish the idea 
of conveying Helen to Dumbarton; but remembering what Wallace 
had said respecting the safety of a religious sanctuary, he advised that 
she should be left at St. Fillan's till the cause of Scotland might be 
more firmly established. "Send a messenger to inform her of the 
rescue of Dumbarton, and of your and my uncle's health," continued 
he, "and that will be sufficient to make her happy." 

That she was not to be thrown in Wallace's way, satisfied Lady 
Mar, and she approved Murray's decision. Reheved from apprehen- 
sion, she rose to welcome the reentrance of Wallace with the Earl of 

Absorbed in one thought, every charm she possessed was directed 
to the same point. She played finely on the lute, and sung with all 
the grace of her country. What gentle heart was not to be affected by 


music? She determined it should be one of the spells by which she 
mccant to cattract Wallace. She took up one of the lutes, which with 
other musical instruments decorated the apartments of the luxurious 
De Valence, and touching it with exquisite delicacy, breathed the most 
pathetic air her memory could dictate: 

If on the heath she moved, her breast was whiter than the down of Cana; 

If on the sea-beat shore, than the foam of the rolling ocean. 

Her eyes were two stars of light; her face was heaven's bow in shower; 

Her dark hair flowed around it like the streaming clouds. 

Thou wert the dweller of souls, white-handed Strinadona. 

Wallace rose from his chair which had been placed near her. She 
had designed that these tender words of the bard of Morven should 
suggest to her hearer the observation of her own resembling beauties. 
But he saw in them only the lovely dweller of his own soul, and walk- 
ing towards a window, stood there with his eyes fixed on the descend- 
ing sun. 

The countess vainly believed that some sensibility advantageous 
to her new passion had caused the agitation with which she saw him 
depart from her side, and, intoxicated with the idea, she ran through 
many a melodious descant, till touching on the first strains of Thusa 
ha measg na reultan mor, she saw Wallace start from his contempla- 
tive position and with a pale countenance leave the room. There was 
something in his abruptness which excited the alarm of the Earl of 
Lennox, who had also been listening to the songs; he rose instantly, 
and overtaking the chief at the threshold, inquired what was the mat- 
ter. "Nothing," answered Wallace, forcing a smile in which the 
agony of his mind was too truly imprinted; "but music displeases me," 
and with this reply he disappeared. What was music to him? A 
soulless sound or a direful knell, to recall the remembrance of all he 
had lost. 

Such were his thoughts when the words of Thusa ha measg rung 
from Lady IMar's voice. Those were the strains which Halbert used 
to breathe from his harp to call his Marion to her nightly slumbers; 
those were the strains with which that faithful servant had announced 
that she slept to wake no more. What wonder, then, that he fled from 
the apartment and buried himself amid the distant solitudes of the 

Edwin had at intervals cast a sidelong glance upon the changint^ 
complexion of his commander; and no sooner did he see him hurry 
from the room, than fearful of some disaster having befallen the garri- 


son, which Wallace did not choose immediately to mention, he also 
stole out of the apartment. 

After seeking the object of his anxiety for a long time without 
avail, he was returning on his steps, when, attracted by the splendor 
of the moon silvering the beacon-hill, he ascended, to tread, once at 
least, that acclivity in light which he had so miraculously passed in 
darkness. He moved on till a deep sigh arrested him. He stopped 
and listened. It was repeated again and again. He gently drew 
nearer and saw a human figure reclining on the ground. The head of 
the mourner was unbonneted, and the brightness of the moon shone on 
his forehead. 

A cloud had passed over the moon, but sailing off again, displayed 
to the anxious boy that he had indeed drawn very near his friend. 
"Who goes there?" exclaimed Wallace, starting on his feet. 

"Your Edwin," returned the youth. "I feared something wrong 
had happened when I saw you look so sad and leave the room 

Wallace pressed his hand in silence. "Then some evil has befallen 
you?" inquired Edwin, in an agitated voice; "you do not speak." 

Wallace seated himself on a stone and leaned his head upon the 
hilt of his sword. "No new evil has befallen me, Edwin; but there is 
such a thing as remembrance, that stabs deeper than the dagger's 

"What remembrance can wound you, my general? The Abbot of 
St. Columba has often told me that memory is a balm to every ill 
with the good ; and have not you been good to all ? Surely, if man can 
be happy, it must be Sir William Wallace." 

"And so I am, my Edwin, when I contemplate the end. But in 
the interval, is it not written here 'that man was made to mourn'?" 
He put his hand on his heart ; and then, after a short pause, resumed : 
"Doubly I mourn, doubly am I bereaved, for had it not been for mine 
enemy I might have lived to have gloried in a son like thee. These are 
the recollections which sometimes draw tears down thy leader's cheeks. 
And do not believe, brother of my soul," said he, pressing Edwin 
to his breast, "that they disgrace his manhood." 

Edwin sobbed aloud. "No son could love you dearer than I do. 
I will replace all to you but your Marion, and she the pitying Son of 
Mary will restore to you in the kingdom of heaven." 

Wallace looked steadfastly at the young preacher. " 'Out of the 
mouths of babes we shall hear wisdom.' Thine, dear Edwin, I will 
lay to heart. Thou shalt comfort me when my hermit-soul shuts out 
all the world besides." 


"Then I am indeed your brother!" cried the happy youth; "admit 
me but to your heart, and no tie shall be more strongly linked than 

"What affections I can spare from those resplendent regions," 
answered Wallace, pointing to the skies, "are thine. But thou art too 
young, my brother," added he, interrupting himself, "to understand 
all the feelings, all the seeming contradictions, of my heart." 

"Not so," answered Edwin, with a modest blush; "what was Lady 
Marion's you now devote to Scotland. Those affections which were 
hers would consume your being did you not pour it forth on your 

"You have read me, Edwin," replied Wallace; "and that you may 
never love to idolatry, learn this also: Though Scotland lay in ruin, 
I was happy. Marion absorbed my wishes, my thoughts, my life, and 
she was wrested from me, that I might feel myself a slave." He struck 
his hand upon his breast. "Never love as I have loved, and you will 
be a patriot without needing to taste my bitter cup." 

Edwin trembled; "I can love no one better than I do you, my 
general, and is there any crime in that?" 

Wallace in a moment recovered from the transient wildness which 
had possessed him. "None, my Edwin," replied he; "the affections 
are never criminal but when by their excess they blind us to other 
duties. The offense of mine is judged, and I bow to the penalty. 
When that is paid, then may my ashes sleep in rescued Scotland." As 
he spoke he took the arm of the silent Edwin, and putting it through 
his, they descended the hill together. 

On the open ground before the great tower they were met by 
Murray. "I come to seek you," cried he; "we have had woe on woe 
in the citadel since you left it." 

"Nothing very calamitous," returned Wallace, "if we may guess 
by the merry aspect of the messenger." 

"Only a little whirlwind of my aunt's, in which we have had airs 
and showers enough to wet us through and blow us dry again." 

The conduct of the lady had been even more extravagant than her 
nephew chose to describe. After the knight's departure, when the 
chiefs entered into conversation respecting his future plans, Lennox 
mentioned that when his men should arrive, it was Wallace's intention 
to march immediately for Stirling, whither it could hardly be doubted 
Aymer de Valence had fled. "I shall be left here," continued the earl, 
"to assist you. Lord Mar, in the severer duties attendant on being 
governor of this place." 

No sooner did these words reach the ear of the countess than, 


struck with despair, she hastened toward her husband and earnestly 
exclaimed, "You will not suffer this?" 

"No," returned the earl, mistaking her meaning; "not being able 
to perform the duties attendant on the station with which Wallace 
would honor me, I shall rehnquish it altogether to Lord Lennox, and 
be amply satisfied in finding myself under his protection." 

"Ah, where is protection without Sir William Wallace?" cried she. 
"If he go, our enemies will return. Who then will repel them from 
these walls? Who will defend your wife and onlj^ son from falling 
again into the hands of our foes?" 

Mar observed Lord Lennox color at this imputation on his 
bravery, and, shocked at the affront which his wife seemed to give so 
gallant a chief, he hastily replied, "Though this wounded arm cannot 
boast, yet the Earl of Lennox is an able representative of our com- 

"I will die, madam," interrupted Lennox, "before anything hostile 
approaches you or your children." 

She attended slightly to this pledge, and again addressed her lord 
with arguments for the detention of Wallace. Sir Roger Kirkpatrick, 
impatient under all this foolery, as he justly deemed it, abruptly 
said, "Be assured, fair lady, Israel's Samson was not brought into the 
world to keep guard over women ; and I hope our champion will know 
his duty better than to allow himself to be tied to any nursery girdle in 

The brave old earl was offended with this roughness; but ere he 
could so express himself, its object darted her own severe retort on 
Kirkpatrick, and then turning to her husband, with a hysterical sob, 
exclaimed, "It is well seen what will be my fate when Wallace is gone! 
Would he have stood by and beheld me thus insulted?" 

Distressed with shame at her conduct, and anxious to remove her 
fears, Lord Mar whispered her, and threw his arm about her waist. 
She thrust him from her. "You care not what may become of me, and 
my heart disdains your blandishments." 

Lennox rose in silence and walked to the other end of the chamber. 
Sir Roger Kirkpatrick followed him, muttering audibly his thanks 
to St. Andrew that he had never been yoked with a wife. Scrymgeour 
and Murray tried to allay the storm in her bosom by detailing how the 
fortress must be equally safe under the care of Lennox as of Wallace. 
But they discoursed in vain. She was obstinate, and at last left the 
room in a passion of tears. 

On the return of Wallace, Lord Lennox advanced to meet him. 
"What shall we do?" said he. "Without you have the witchcraft of 


Hercules, and can be in two places at once, I fear we must either leave 
the rest of Scotland to fight for itself, or never restore peace to this 

Wallace smiled; but before he could answer, Lady Mar, having 
heard his voice ascending the stairs, suddenty entered the room. She 
held her infant in her arms. Her air was composed, but her eyes 
yet shone with tears. At this sight Lord Lennox, sufficiently dis- 
gusted with the lad}^, taking Murray by the arm withdrew with him 
out of the apartment. 

She approached Wallace. "You are come, my deliverer, to speak 
comfort to the mother of this poor babe. My cruel lord here, and the 
Earl of Lennox, say you mean to abandon us in this castle." 

"It cannot be abandoned," returned the chief, "while they are in 
it. But if so warlike a scene alarms you, would not a religious sanc- 
tuary " 

"Not for worlds!" cried she, interrupting him; "what altar is held 
sacred by the enemies of our country? Oh, wonder not, then," added 
she, putting her face to that of her child, "that I should wish this inno- 
cent babe never to be from under the wing of such a protector!" 

"But that is impossible, Joanna," rejoined the earl. "Sir William 
Wallace has duties to perform superior to that of keeping watch over 
any private family. His presence is wanted in the field, and we should 
be traitors to the cause did we detain him." 

"Unfeeling JNIar," cried she, bursting into tears, "thus to echo the 
words of the barbarian Kirkpatrick, thus to condemn us to die. You 
will see another tragedy: your own wife and child seized by the return- 
ing Southrons and laid bleeding at j^our feet." 

Wallace walked from her much agitated. 

"Rather inhuman, Joanna," whispered Lord Mar to her in an 
angry voice, "to make such a reference in the presence of our pro- 
tector. I cannot stay to listen to a pertinacity as insulting to the 
rest of our brave leaders as it is oppressive to Sir Wilham Wallace. 
Edwin, you will come for me when your aunt consents to be guided 
by right reason." While yet speaking he entered the passage that 
led to his own apartment. 

Lady Mar sat a few minutes silent. She was not to be warned 
from her determination by the displeasure of a husband whom she 
now regarded with the impatience of a bondwoman towards her task- 
master ; and, only solicitous to compass the detention of Sir WiUiam 
Wallace, she resolved, if he would not remain at the castle, to per- 
suade him to conduct her himself to her husband's territories in the 
Isle of Bute. She could contrive to make the journey occupy more 


than one day, and for holding him longer she would trust to chance 
and her own inventions. With these resolutions she looked up. 
Edwin was speaking to Wallace. "What does he tell you," said 
she; "that my lord has left me in displeasure? Alas! he compre- 
hends not a mother's anxiety for her sole remaining child. One of 
my sweet twins, my dear daughter, died on my being brought a 
prisoner to this horrid fortress; and to lose this also would be more 
than I could bear. Look at this babe," cried she, holding it up to 
him; "let it plead to you for its life! Guard it, noble Wallace, what- 
ever may become of me." 

The appeal of a mother made instant way to Sir William's heart; 
even her weaknesses, did they point to anxiety respecting her off- 
spring, were sacred to him. "What would you have me do, madam? 
Tell me where you think you would be safer, and I will be your con- 

She paused to repress the triumph with which this proposal filled 
her, and then with downcast eyes replied, "In the seagirt Bute stands 
Rothsay, a rude but strong castle of my lord's. It possesses nothing 
to attract the notice of the enemy, and there I might remain in per- 
fect safety. Lord Mar may keep his station here until a general 
victory sends you, noble Wallace, to restore my child to its father." 

Wallace bowed his consent to her proposal, and Edwin, remem- 
bering the earl's injunction, inquired if he might inform him of what 
was decided. When he left the room. Lady ^lar rose, and suddenly 
putting her son into the arms of Wallace, "Let his sweet caresses 
thank you." Wallace trembled as she pressed the little mouth to 
his, and, mistranslating this emotion, she dropped her face upon the 
infant's, and, in affecting to kiss it, rested her head upon the bosom 
of the chief. There was something in this action more than maternal ; 
it disconcerted Wallace. "JNIadam," said he, drawing back and relin- 
quishing the child, "I do not require any thanks for serving the wife 
and son of Lord Mar." 

At that moment the earl entered. Lady Mar flattered herself 
that the repelling action of Wallace and his cold answer had arisen 
from the expectation of this entrance; yet, blushing with disappoint- 
ment, she hastily uttered a few agitated words, to inform her hus- 
band that Bute was to be her future sanctuary. 

Lord Mar approved it, and declared his determination to accom- 
pany her. "In my state, I can be of little use here," said he; "my 
family will require protection even in that seclusion, and therefore, 
leaving Lord Lennox sole governor of Dumbarton, I shall unques- 
tionably attend them to Rothsay myself." 


This arrangement would break in upon the lonely conversations 
she had meditated to have with Wallace, and therefore the countess 
objected to the proposal. But none of her arguments being admitted 
by her lord, and as Wallace did not support them by a word, she was 
obliged to make a merit of necessity, and consent to her husband 
being their companion. 

Towards evening the next day Ker not only returned with the 
Earl of Lennox's men, but brought with them Sir Eustace Maxwell, 
of Carlaveroch. That brave knight happened to be in the neigh- 
borhood the very same night in which De Valence fled before the 
arms of Wallace across the Clyde, and he no sooner saw the Scottish 
colors on the walls of Dumbarton than his soul took fire, and stung 
with a generous ambition, he determined to assist, while he emulated 
the victor. 

To this end he traversed the adjoining country, striving to en- 
lighten the stupidly satisfied, and to excite the discontented to revolt. 
With most he failed. Some took upon them to lecture him on "fish- 
ing in troubled waters," and warned him, if he would keep his head 
on his shoulders, to wear his yoke in peace. Others thought the 
project too arduous for men of small means; they wished well to the 
arms of Sir William Wallace, and should he continue successful 
would watch the moment to aid him with all their little power. Some 
were too great cowards to fight for the rights they would gladly re- 
gain by the exertions of others. And others again who had families 
shrunk from taking part in a cause which, should it fail, would not 
only put their lives in danger, but expose their offspring to the re- 
venge of a resentful enemy. The other pleas were so undeserving of 
anything but scorn that Sir Eustace Maxwell could not forbear ex- 
pressing it. "When Sir William Wallace is entering full sail, you 
will send your boats to tow him in ; but if a plank could save him now, 
you would not throw it to him. I understand you, sirs, and shall 
trouble your patriotism no more." 

In short, none but about a hundred poor fellows whom outrages 
had rendered desperate, and a few brave spirits who would put all to 
the hazard for so good a cause, could be prevailed on to hold them- 
selves in readiness to obey Sir Eustace when he should see the mo- 
ment to conduct them to Sir William Wallace. He was trying his 
eloquence amongst the clan of Lennox, when Tver arriving, stamped 
his persuasions with truth, and about five hundred men arranged 
themselves under their lord's standard. IMaxwell gladly explained 
himself to Wallace's lieutenant, and, summoning his little reserve, 
they marched with flying pennons through the town of Dumbarton. 


At sight of so much larger a power than they expected would ven- 
ture to appear in arms, and sanctioned by the example of the Earl 
of Lennox, whose name held a great influence in those parts, sev- 
eral who had before held back now came forward, and nearly eight 
hundred well-appointed men marched into the fortress. 

So large a reenforcement was gratefully received by Wallace, and 
he welcomed Maxwell with a cordiality w^hich inspired that young 
knight with an affection equal to his zeal. 

A council being held respecting the disposal of the new troops, 
it was decided that the Lennox men must remain with their earl in 
garrison, while those brought by JMaxwell, and under his command, 
should follow Wallace in the prosecution of his conquests. 

These preliminaries being arranged, the remainder of the day 
was dedicated to the unfolding of the plan of warfare w^hich Wallace 
had conceived. As he first sketched the general outline of his de- 
sign, and then proceeded to the particulars of each military move- 
ment, he displayed such comprehensiveness of mind, such depth of 
penetration, clearness of apprehension, facility in expedients, promp- 
titude in perceiving, and fixing on the most favorable points of at- 
tack, that Maxwell gazed on him with admiration and Lennox with 

Mar had seen the power of his arms, Murray had already drunk 
the experience of a veteran from his genius, hence they were not 
surprised on hearing that which filled strangers with amazement. 

Lennox gazed on his leader's youthful countenance in awe. He 
had thought that Wallace might have won Dumbarton by a bold 
stroke, 'and that, when his invincible courage should be steered by 
graver heads, every success might be expected from his arms; but 
now that he had heard him informing veterans on the art of war, he 
marveled, and said within himself, "Surely this man is born to be 
a sovereign." 

Maxwell, though equally astonished, was not so rapt. "You 
have made arms the study of your life?" inquired he. 

"It was the study of my earliest days," returned Wallace. "But 
when Scotland lost her freedom, as the sword was not drawn in her 
defense, I looked not where it lay. I then studied the arts of peace; 
that is over, and now the passion of my soul revives. When the mind 
is bent on one object only, all becomes clear that leads to it." 

Soon after these observations it was admitted that Wallace might 
attend Lord INIar and his family on the morrow to the Isle of Bute. 

When the dawn broke he arose from his heather-bed, and having 
called forth twenty of the Both well men to escort their lord, he told 


Ireland he should expect to have a cheering account of the wounded 
on his return. 

"But to assure the ])oor fellows," rejoined the honest soldier, 
"that something of yourself still keeps watch over them, I pray you 
leave me the sturdy sword with which you won Dumbarton. It shall 
be hung up in their sight, and a good soldier's wounds will heal by 
looking on it." 

Wallace smiled. "Were it our holy King David's we might ex- 
pect such a miracle. But you are welcome to it, and here let it re- 
main till I take it hence. Meanwhile lend me yours, Stephen, for a 
truer never fought for Scotland." 

A glow of conscious valor flushed the cheek of the veteran. 
"There, my dear lord," said he, presenting it; "it will not dishonor 
your hand, for it cut down many a proud Norwegian on the field 
of Largs." 

Wallace took the sword and turned to meet Murray with Edwin 
in the portal. When they reached the citadel, Lennox and all the 
officers in the garrison were assembled to bid their chief a short adieu. 
Wallace spoke to each separately, and then approaching the countess, 
led her down the rock to the horses which were to convey them to 
the Frith of Clyde. Lord JNIar, between ^lurray and Edwin, fol- 
lowed ; and the servants and guard completed the suite. 

Being well mounted, they pleasantly pursued their way, avoiding 
all inhabited places, and resting in the recesses of the hills. Lord 
Mar had proposed traveling all night; but at the close of the evening 
his countess complained of fatigue, declaring she could not advance 
farther than the eastern bank of the river Cart. No shelter ap- 
peared in sight excepting a thick wood of hazels; but the air being 
mild. Lord Mar at last became reconciled to his wife and son passing 
the night with no other canopy than the trees. Wallace ordered 
cloaks to be spread on the ground for the countess and her women, 
and seeing them laid to rest, planted his men to keep guard around 
the circle. 

The moon had sunk before the w^hole of his little camp were asleep, 
but when all seemed composed he wandered forth by the light of the 
stars to view the surrounding country, — a country he had so often 
traversed in his boyish days. A little onwards in green Renfrew- 
shire lay the lands of his father ; but that Ellerslie of his ancestors, 
like his own Ellerslie of Clydesdale, his country's enemies had leveled 
with the ground. He turned in anguish of heart towards the south, 
for there less racking remembrances hovered over the distant hills. 

At last the coldness of the hour and the exhaustion of nature put- 


ting a seal upon his senses, he sank upon the bank and fell into pro- 
found sleep. 

When he awoke, the lark was caroling above his head, and to his 
surprise he found that a plaid was laid over him. He threw it off, 
and beheld Edwin seated at his feet. "This has been your doing, 
my kind brother," said he; "but how came you to discover me?" 

"I missed you when the dawn broke, and at last found you here, 
sleeping under the dew." 

"And has none else been astir?" inquired Wallace. 

"None that I know of. All were fast asleep when I left the 

Finding everybody ready, Wallace took his station, and setting 
forth, all proceeded cheerfully, through the delightful valleys of 
Baroehan. By sunset they arrived at the ])oint of embarkation. The 
journey ought to have been performed in half the time; but the 
countess petitioned for long rests, a compliance with which the 
younger part of the cavalcade conceded with reluctance. 



At Gourock INIurray engaged two small vessels, one for the earl 
and countess, with Wallace as their escort, the other for himself and 
Edwin, to follow with a few of the men. 

It was a fine evening, and they embarked with everything in their 
favor. The boatmen calculated on reaching Bute in a few hours; 
but ere they had been half an hour at sea, the wind veering about, 
obliged them to woo its breezes by a traversing motion, which length- 
ened their voyage. Sailing under a side M-ind, they beheld the huge 
irregular rocks of Dunoon overhanging the ocean, while from their 
projecting brows hung every shrub which can live in that saline at- 

"There," whispered Lady Mar, gently inclining towards Wallace, 
"might some beautiful mermaid keep her court. Observe how mag- 
nificently those arching cliffs overhang the hollows, and how richly 
they are studded with shells and sea-flowers." 

Wallace assented to the remarks of Lady Mar, who continued to 
expatiate on the beauties of the shore which they passed; and thus 
the hours fled, till turning the southern point of the Cowal mountains 
the scene suddenly changed. The wind blew a violent gale from 
that part of the coast, and the sea became so. boisterous that the boat- 
men began to think they should be driven upon the rocks of the 
island. Wallace tore down the sails, and, laying his arm to the oar, 
assisted to keep the vessel off the breakers against which the waves 
were driving her. 

Lady Mar looked with affright at the gathering tempest, and with 
difficulty was persuaded to retire under the shelter of a little awning. 
The earl forgot his debility in the general terror, and tried to reas- 
sure the boatmen; but a tremendous sweep of the gale, driving the ves- 
sel far across the head of Bute, shot her past the head of Loch Fyne 
towards the perilous rocks of Arran. "Here our destruction is cer- 
tain," cried the master of the bark, at the same time confessing his ig- 
norance of this side of the island. Lord Mar, seizing the helm from 
the stupefied master, called to Wallace, "While you keep the men 
to their duty," cried he, "I will steer." 



The earl bein^ perfectly acquainted with the coast, Wallace gladly 
saw the helm in his hand ; but he had scarcely stepped forward him- 
self to give some necessary directions, when a heavy sea breaking 
over the deck carried two of the poor mariners overboard. Wallace 
instantly threw out a couple of ropes. Then, amidst a spray so blind- 
ing that the vessel appeared in a cloud, she lay-to for a few minutes 
to rescue the men from the yawning gulf; one caught a rope and 
was saved, but the other was seen no more. 

Again the bark was set loose to the current. Wallace, now with 
two rowers only, applied his whole strength to their aid. The master 
and the third man were employed in the unceasing toil of laving out 
the accumulating water. 

While the anxious chief tugged at the oar, his eye looked for the 
vessel that contained his friends; but the liquid mountains which 
rolled around him prevented all view. 

All this while Lady Mar lay in a state of stupefaction. Having 
fainted at the first alarm of danger, she had fallen from swoon to 
swoon, and now remained almost insensible upon the bosoms of her 
maids. In a moment the vessel struck with a great shock, and the 
next instant it seemed to move with a velocity incredible. "The 
whirlpool! the whirlpool!" resounded from every lip. But again the 
rapid motion was suddenly checked, and the women, fancying they 
had struck on some rock, shrieked aloud. The cry, and the terrified 
words which accompanied it, aroused Lady INIar. She started from 
her trance, and while the confusion redoubled, rushed toward the 
dreadful scene. 

A little onward, a thousand massy fragments, rent by former tem- 
pests from their parent cliffs, lay at the foundations of the immense 
acclivities which faced the cause of their present alarm — a whirlpool 
almost as terrific as that of Scarba. The moment the blast drove the 
vessel within the influence of the first circle of the vortex, Wallace 
leaped from the deck on the rocks, and with the same rope in his 
hand with which he had saved the life of the seaman, he called to the 
two men to follow him, who yet held similar ropes, fastened like 
his own to the prow of the vessel ; and being obeyed, they strove, by 
towing it along, to stem the suction of the current. 

It was at this instant that Lady ]Mai rushed forward upon deck. 
"In, for your life, Joanna!" exclaimed the earl. She answered him 
not, but looked wildly around her. Nowhere could she see Wallace. 

"Have I drowned him?" cried she in a voice of frenzy, and strik- 
ing the women from her who would have held her back. "Let me 
clasp him, even in the deep waters !" 


Happily the earl lost the last sentence in the roaring of the storm. 

"Wallace! Wallace!" cried she, wringing her hands and still strug- 
gling with her women. At that moment a huge wave sinking be- 
fore her discovered the object of her fears straining along the surface 
of a rock and followed by the men in the same task, tugging forward 
the ropes to M'hich the bark was attached. Thus, contending with the 
vortex and the storm, they at last arrived at the point that was to clear 
them of the whirlpool. But at that crisis the rope which Wallace 
held broke, and with the shock he fell backwards into the sea. The 
foremost man uttered a cry, but ere it could be echoed by his fellows 
Wallace had risen above the waves, and beating their whehning 
waters, soon gained the vessel and jumped upon the deck. The point 
was doubled ; but the next moment the vessel struck, and in a manner 
that left no hope of getting her off. All must take to the water or 
perish, for the second shock would scatter her piecemeal. 

Again Lady Mar appeared. At sight of Wallace she forgot 
everything but him, and perhaps would have thrown herself into his 
arms had not the anxious earl caught her in his own. 

"Are we to die?" cried she to Wallace, in a voice of horror. 

"I trust that God has decreed otherwise," was his reply. "Com- 
pose yourself; all may yet be well." 

Lord Mar, from his yet unhealed wounds, could not swim ; Wal- 
lace therefore tore up the benches of the rowers, and binding them 
into the form of a small raft, made it the vehicle for the earl and 
countess, with her two maids and the child. While the men were tow- 
ing it and buffeting with it through the breakers, he, too, threw him- 
self into the sea to swim by its side, and be in readiness in case of 

Having gained the shore, Wallace and his sturdy assistants con- 
veyed the countess and her terrified w^omen up the rocky accli^^ties. 
Fortunately, though the wind raged, its violence was of some advan- 
tage, for it nearly cleared the heavens of clouds, and allowed the moon 
to send forth her light to the mouth of a cavern, where Wallace gladly 
sheltered his dripping charges. 

The child, whom he had guarded in his own arms during the dif- 
ficult ascent, he now laid on the bosom of its mother. Lady JMar 
kissed the hand that relinquished it, and gave way to a flood of grate- 
ful tears. 

The earl, as he sank almost powerless against the side of the cave, 
yet had strength enough to press Wallace to his heart. "Ever pre- 
server of me and mine!" cried he, "how must I bless thee? My wife, 
my child " 


"Have been saved to you, my friend," interrupted Wallace, "by 
the presiding care of Him who walked the waves: therefore let our 
thanksgivings be directed to Him alone." 

"So be it!" returned the earl; and dropping on his knees he 
breathed forth so pathetic a prayer of thanks that the countess 
trembled and bent her head upon the bosom of her child. She could 
not utter the solemn Amen that was repeated by every voice in the 
cave for her unhappy infatuation saw no higher power in this great 
preservation than the hand of the man she adored. 

Sleep soon sealed every eye excepting those of Wallace. Anxi- 
ety respecting the fate of the other vessel, in which were the brave 
men of Bothwell, and his two dear friends, filled his mind with fore- 
bodings. Sometimes, when wearied nature for a few minutes sank 
into slumber, he would start, grief-struck, from the body of Edwin 
floating on the briny flood, and as he awoke a cold despondence 
would tell him that his dream was perhaps too true. "Oh, I love 
thee, Edwin!" exclaimed he to himself. "jNIust thou, too, die, that 
Scotland may have no rival, that Wallace may feel himself quite 

At last morning began to dawn, and spreading upon the moun- 
tains of the opposite shore, shed a soft light over their misty sides. 
All was tranquil and full of beauty. That element, which so lately 
in its rage had threatened to engidf them all, now flowed by the 
rocks at the foot of the cave in gentle undulations; and where the 
cliffs gave resistance the rays of the rising sun, striking on the burst- 
ing waves, turned their showers into dropping gems. 

While his companions were still wrapped in sleep, Wallace stole 
away to seek some knowledge respecting the part of the Isle of Arran 
on which they were cast. Close by the mouth of the cave he discov- 
ered a cleft in the rock, into which he turned, and finding the upward 
footing sufficiently secure, clambered to the summit. The morning 
vapors were fast rolling their snowy wreaths down the opposite moun- 
tains, whose heads, shining in resplendent purple, seemed to view 
themselves in the reflections of the now smooth sea. Xature, like a 
conqueror, appeared to have put on a triumphal garb in exultation 
of the devastation she had committed the night before. Wallace 
shuddered as the parallel occurred to his mind, and turned from the 

On reentering the cave he despatched the seamen, and disposed 
himself to watch by the sides of his still sleeping friends. An hour 
hardly had elapsed before the men returned, bringing with them a 
large boat and its proprietor, but alas! no tidings of Murray and 


Edwin. In bringing the boat round to the creek under the cliif, the 
men discovered that the sea had driven their wreck between two pro- 
jecting rocks, where it now lay wedged. Though ruined as a vessel, 
sufficient held together to warrant their exertions to save the property. 
Accordingly they entered it, and drew thence most of the valuables 
which belonged to Lord INIar. 

While this was doing, Wallace reascended to the cave, and finding 
the earl awake, told him a boat was ready for their reembarkation. 
"But where, my friend, are my nephews?" inquired he. "Alas! has 
this fatal expedition robbed me of them?" 

Wallace tried to inspire him with a hope he scarcely dared credit 
himself, that they had been saved on some more distant shore. The 
voices of the chiefs awakened the women, but the countess still slept. 
Aware that she would resist trusting herself to the waves again. Lord 
Mar desired that she might be moved on board without disturbing 
her. This was readily done, the men having only to take up the ex- 
tremities of the plaid on which she lay, and so carry her, with an im- 
perceptible motion, to the boat. The earl received her head on his 
bosom. All were then on board; the rowers struck their oars, and 
once more the little party found themselves launched upon the sea. 

While they were yet midway between the isles, with a bright sun 
playing its sparkling beams upon the waves, the countess, heaving a 
deep sigh, slowly opened her eyes. All around glared with the light 
of day; she felt the motion of the boat, and raising her head, saw that 
she was again embarked on the treacherous element on which she had 
lately experienced so many terrors. She grew deadly pale, and 
grasped her husband's hand. "My dear Joanna," cried he, "be not 
alarmed, we are all safe." 

"And Sir William Wallace has left us?" demanded she. 

"No, madam," answered a voice from the steerage; "not till this 
party be safe at Bute do I quit it." 

She looked round with a grateful smile. "Ever generous! How 
could I for a moment doubt our preserver?" 

Wallace bowed, but remained silent, and they passed calmly along 
till the vessel came in sight of a small boat, which, bounding over the 
waves, was presently so near the earl's that the figures in each could 
be distinctly seen. In it, the chiefs, to their rapturous surprise, be- 
held Murray and Edwin. The latter, with a cry of joj^ leaped into 
the sea; the next instant he was over the boat's side and clasped in 
the arms of Wallace. "Thank God! thank God!" was all that Edwin 
could say, while at every effort to tear himself from Wallace, he 
clung the closer to his breast. 


While this was passing, the boat had drawn closer, and Murray, 
shaking hands with his uncle and aunt, exclaimed to Wallace, "That 
urchin is such a monopolizer, I see you have not a greeting for any 
one else." On this Edwin raised his face and turned to the welcomes 
of Lord Mar. Wallace stretched out his hand to the ever-gay Lord 
Andrew, and, inviting him into the boat, soon learnt that on the 
beginning of the storm Murray's company made direct to the nearest 
creek in Bute, being better seamen than Wallace's helmsman. By this 
prudence, without having been in much peril, Murray's party had 
landed safely. The night came on dark and tremendous, but not 
doubting that the earl's rowers had carried him into a similar haven, 
the young chief and his companion kept themselves easy in a fisher's 
hut till morning. At an early hour they then put themselves at the 
head of the Bothwell men, and, expecting they should come up with 
Wallace and his party at Rothsay, walked over to the castle. Their 
consternation was unutterable when they found that Lord Mar was 
not there, neither had he been heard of. Full of terror, Murray 
and Edwin threw themselves into a boat to seek their friends upon 
the seas, and when they did espy them, the joy of Edwin was so great 
that not even the unfathomable gulf could stop him from flying to 
the embrace of his friend. 

While mutual felicitations passed, the boats, now nearly side by 
side, reached the shore, and the seamen jumping on the rocks, moored 
their vessels under the projecting towers of Rothsay. The old stew- 
ard hastened to receive a master who had not blessed his aged eyes 
for many a year, and when he took the infant in his arms that was to 
be the future representative of the house of Mar, he wept aloud*. 
The earl spoke to him affectionately, and then walked on with Edwin, 
whom he called to support him up the bank. Murray led the countess 
out of the boat, while the Bothwell men so thronged about Wallace, 
congratulating themselves on his safety, that she saw there was no 
hope of his arm being then offered to her. 

Having entered the castle, the steward led them into a room in 
which he had spread a plentiful repast. Here Murray, having re- 
counted the adventures of his voyage, called for a history of what 
had befallen his friends. The earl gladly took up the tale, and, with 
many a glance of gratitude to Wallace, narrated the perilous events 
of their shipwreck and providential preservation on the Isle of Arran. 

Happiness now seemed to have shed her heavenly influence over 
every bosom. The complacency with which Wallace regarded every 
one, the pouring out of his beneficent spirit, which seemed to embrace 
all, turned every eye and heart towards him, as to a being who seemed 


made to love and be beloved by every one. Lady Mar looked at him, 
listened to him, with her rapt soul seated in her eye. 

But when he withdrew for the night, what was then the state of 
her feelings? The overflowing of heart he felt for all, she appropri- 
ated solely to herself. The sweetness of his voice, the expression of 
his countenance, while, as he spoke, he veiled his eyes under their 
long, brown lashes, had raised such vague hopes in her bosom, that, 
he being gone, she hastened her adieus to the rest, eager to retire to 
bed, and there muse on the happiness of having at last touched the 
heart of a man for whom she would resign the world. 



The morning would have brought annihilation to the countess's 
new-fledged hopes had not Murray been the first to meet her as she 
came from her chamber. 

While walking on the cliffs near the castle, he met Wallace and 
Edwin. They had already been across the valley to the haven and 
ordered a boat round to convey them back to Gourock. "Postpone 
your flight, for pity's sake!" cried JNIurray, "if you would not by dis- 
courtesy destroy what your gallantry has preserved." He then told 
them that Lady INIar was preparing a feast in the glen behind the 
castle; "and if we do not stay to partake it," added he, "we may 
expect all the witches in the isle will be bribed to sink us before we 
reach the shore." 

After this the meeting of the morning was not less cordial than 
the separation of the night before; and when Lady JNIar withdrew 
to give orders for her rural banquet, that time was seized by the earl 
for the arrangement of matters of more consequence. In a private 
conversation with JNIurray the preceding evening he had learned that 
just before the party left Dumbarton a letter had been sent to Helen 
at St. Fillan's, informing her of the taking of the castle and of the 
safety of her friends. This having satisfied the earl, he did not ad- 
vert to her at all in his present discourse with Wallace, but rather 
avoided encumbering his mind with anything but the one great theme. 

While the earl and his friends were marshaling armies, taking 
towns and storming castles, the countess, intent on other conquests, 
was meaning to beguile and destroy that manly spirit by the soft 
delights of love. 

When her lord and his guests were summoned to the feast she 
met them at the mouth of the glen. Having tried the effect of 
splendor, she now left all to the power of her natural charms, and 
appeared simply clad in her favorite green. Moraig, the pretty 
grandchild of the steward, walked beside her like the fairy queen of 
the scene, so gaily was she decorated in all the flowers of spring. 
"Here is the lady of my elfin revels, holding her little king in her 
arms." As the countess spoke INIoraig held up the infant of Lady 



Mar, dressed like herself in a tissue gathered from the field. The 
sweet babe laughed and crowed and made a spring to leap into. Wal- 
lace's arms. The chief took him, and with an affectionate smile 
pressed his little cheek to his. 

Though he had felt an abhorrence of the countess when she al- 
lowed her head to drop on his breast in the citadel ; and though, while 
he remained at Dumbarton, he had certainly avoided her : yet, since 
the wreck, the danger she had escaped, the general joy of all meeting 
again, had wiped away even the remembrance of his former cause 
of dislike, and he now sat by her as by a sister, fondling her child. 

The repast over, the piper of the adjacent cottages a])peared, and 
placing himself on a projecting rock, at the carol of his merry in- 
strument the young peasants of both sexes came forward and began 
to dance. At this sight Edwin seized the little hand of ^loraig, while 
Lord Andrew called a pretty lass from amongst the rustics and 
joined the group. 

Lady Mar watched the countenance of Wallace as he looked upon 
the joyous company. It was placid, and a soft complacency illu- 
mined his eye. How different was the expression in hers, had he 
marked it! All within her was in tumult, and the characters were 
but too legibly imprinted on her face. But he did not look on her, 
for the child, whom the perfume of the flowers overpowered, began 
to cry. He rose, and having resigned it to the nurse, turned into a 
narrow vista of trees, where he walked slowly on, unconscious 
whither he went. 

Lady Mar, with eager haste, followed him till she saw him turn 
out of the vista, and then she lost sight of him. To walk with him 
undisturbed in so deep a seclusion; to improve the impression which 
she was sure she had made upon his heart; all these thoughts ran in 
this vain woman's head; and inwardly rejoicing that the shattered 
health of her husband promised her a ready freedom to become the 
wife of the man to whom she would gladly belong, she hastened for- 
ward, as if the accomplishment of her wishes depended on this meet- 
ing. Peeping through the trees she saw him standing with folded 
arms, looking intently into the bosom of a large lake. 

Having stood for some time, he walked on. Several times she 
essayed to emerge and join him, but a sudden awe of him, a con- 
viction of that saintly purity which would shrink from the vows she 
was meditating to pour into his ear — these thoughts made her pause. 

She had no sooner returned to the scene of festivity than she re- 
pented having allowed what she deemed an idle alarm of delicacy 
to drive her from the lake. She would have hastened back, had not 


two or three aged peasants almost instantly engaged her, to listen 
to long stories respecting her lord's youth. She remained thus an 
unwilling auditor, and by the side of the dancers, for nearly an hour 
before Wallace reappeared. But then she sprang towards him as if 
a spell were broken: "Where, truant, have you been?" 

"In a beautiful solitude," returned he, "amongst a luxuriant grove 
of willows." 

"Aye," cried she, "it is called Glenshealeach ; and a sad scene was 
acted there. About ten years ago a lady of this island drowned her- 
self in the lake they hang over, because the man she loved — despised 

"Unhappy woman!" observed Wallace. 

"Then you would have pitied her?" rejoined Lady Mar. 

"He cannot be a man that would not pity a woman under such 

"Then you would not have consigned her to such a fate?" 

Wallace was startled by the peculiar tone in which this simple 
question was asked. It recalled the action in the citadel, and un- 
consciously turning a penetrating look on her, his eyes met hers. He 
need not have heard further to have learnt more. She looked down 
and colored, and he, wishing to misunderstand a language so dis- 
honoring to her husband, gave some trifling answer; then, making 
a slight observation about the earl, he advanced to him. Lord Mar 
was become tired with so gala a scene, and taking the arm of Wallace 
they returned together into the house. 

Edwin soon followed w^th Murray, arriving time enough to see 
their little pinnace draw up under the castle and throw out her moor- 
ings. The countess, too, descried its streamers, and hastening into the 
room where she knew the chiefs were yet assembled, though the wea- 
ried earl had retired to repose, inquired the reason of that boat hav- 
ing drawn so near the castle. 

"That it may take us from it, fair aunt," rephed Murray. 

The countess fixed her eyes with an unequivocal expression upon 
Wallace. "My gratitude is ever due to your kindness, noble lady," 
said he, still wishing to be blind to what he could not but perceive, 
"and that we may ever deserve it, we go to keep the enemy from 
your doors." 

"Yes," added Murray, "and to keep a more insidious foe from our 
own. Edwin and I feel it rather dangerous to bask too long in these 
sunny bowers." 

"But surely yom' chief is not afraid?" said she, casting a soft 

glance at Wallace. 


"Yet, nevertheless, I must fly," returned he, bowing to her. 

"That you positively shall not," added she, with a fluttering joy 
at her heart, thinking she was about to succeed; "you stir not this 
night, else I shall brand you all as a band of cowards." 

"Call us by every name in the poltroon's calendar," cried Mur- 
ray, seeing by the countenance of Wallace that his resolution was not 
to be moved; "yet we must gallop off." 

"So, dear aunt," rejoined Edwin, smiling, "if you do not mean 
to play Circe to our Ulysses, give us leave to go." 

Lady Mar started, confused, she knew not how, as he innocently 
uttered these words. The animated boy snatched a kiss from her hand 
when he ceased speaking, and darted after JNIurray, who had disap- 
peared to give some directions respecting the boat. 

Left thus alone with the object of her every wish, in the moment 
when she thought she was going to lose him perhaps forever, she for- 
got all prudence, and laying her hand on his arm, as with a respect- 
ful bow he was also moving away, she arrested his steps. She held 
him fast; but agitation preventing her speaking, she trembled vio- 
lently, and, weeping, dropped her head upon his shoulder. He was 
motionless. Her tears redoubled. He felt the embarrassment of 
his situation ; and at last, extricating his tongue, which shame for her 
had chained, in a gentle voice he inquired the cause of her uneasi- 
ness. "If for the safeties of your nephews " 

"No, no," cried she, interrupting him; "read my fate in that of 
the Lady of Glenshealeach." 

Again he was silent; fearful of too promptly understanding so 
disgraceful a truth, he found no words in which to answer her, and 
her emotions became so uncontrolled that he expected she would swoon 
in his arms. 

"Cruel, cruel Wallace!" at last cried she, clinging to him, for he 
had once or twice attempted to disengage himself and reseat her on 
the bench, "your heart is steeled, or it would understand mine. But 
I am despised, — and I can yet find the watery grave from which you 
rescued me." 

To dissemble longer would have been folly. Wallace, now reso- 
lutely seating her, though with gentleness, addressed her: "Your 
husband. Lady Mar, is my friend ; had I a heart to give to woman, 
not one sigh should arise in it to his dishonor. But I am lost to all 
warmer affections than that of friendship." 

"But were it otherwise," cried she, "only tell me that had I not 
been bound with chains which my kinsmen forced upon me; had I 
not been made the property of a man who, however estimable, was of 


too paternal years for me to love ; ah ! tell me if these tears should now 
flow in vain?" 

Wallace seemed to hesitate what to answer. 

Wrought up to agony, she threw herself on his breast, exclaiming, 
"Answer! but drive me not to despair. I never loved man before — 
and now to be scorned ! Oh, kill me, Wallace, but tell me not that you 
never could have loved me!" 

Wallace was alarmed at her vehemence. "Lady Mar," returned 
he, "I am incapable of saying an>i;hing to you that is inimical to your 
duty to the best of men. I will even forget this conversation, and con- 
tinue through life to revere the wife of my friend." 

The countess, awed by his solemnity, but not put from her suit, 
exclaimed, "What thy JNIarion was I would be to thee — thy consoler, 
thine adorer. Time maj^ set me free. Oh ! till then, only give me leave 
to love thee, and I shall be happy." 

"You dishonor yourself, lady," returned he, "by these petitions; 
and for what? I repeat, I am dead to woman; and the voice of love 
sounds like the funeral knell of her who will never breathe it to me 
again." He rose as he spoke, and the countess, pierced to the heart 
and almost despairing of now retaining any part in his esteem, was 
devising what next to say when Murray came into the room. 

Wallace instantly observed that his countenance was troubled. 
"What has happened?" inquired he. 

"A messenger from the mainland with bad news from Ayr." 

"Of private or public import?" rejoined Wallace. 

"Of both. There has been a horrid massacre, in which the heads 
of many noble families have fallen." As he spoke, the paleness of his 
countenance revealed to his friend that part of the information he 
had found himself unable to communicate. 

"I comprehend my loss," cried Wallace. "Sir Ronald Crawford 
is sacrificed! Bring the messenger in." 

Murray withdrew, and Wallace, seating himself, remained, with a 
fixed countenance, gazing on the ground. 

Lord Andrew reentered with a stranger. Wallace rose to meet 
him, and seeing Lady Mar, "Countess," said he, "these bloody recitals 
are not for your ears" ; and waving her to withdraw, she left the room. 

"This gallant stranger," said INIurray, "is Sir John Graham. He 
has just left that new theater of Southron perfidy." 

"I have hastened hither," cried the knight, "to call your victorious 
arm to take a signal vengeance on the murderers of your grandfather. 
He and eighteen other Scottish chiefs have been treacherously put to 
death in the Barns of Ayr." 


Graham then gave a brief narration of the direful circumstance. 
He and his father, Lord DundafF, having crossed the south coast of 
Scotland on their way homeward, stopped to rest at Ayr. They ar- 
rived there the very day that Lord Aymer de Valence had entered 
it a fugitive from Dumbarton castle. Much as that earl wished to 
keep the success of Wallace a secret from the inhabitants of Ayr, he 
found it impossible, and in half an hour after the arrival of the English 
earl, every soul knew that the recovery of Scotland was begun. Elated 
with this intelligence, the Scots went, under night, from house to 
house, congratulating each other on so miraculous an interference in 
their favor; and many stole to Sir Ronald Crawford to felicitate the 
venerable knight on his glorious grandson. The good old man 
listened with joy to their eulogiums on Wallace; and when Lord 
Dundaff, in offering his congratulations with the rest, said, "But 
while all Scotland lay in vassalage, where did he imbibe this spirit to 
tread down tyrants?" the venerable patriarch replied, "He was 
always a noble boy. From infancy to manhood he has been a bene- 
factor, and, though the cruelty of our enemies have widowed his 
youthful years, the brightness of his virtues will spread more glories 
round the name of Wallace than a thousand posterities." Other ears 
than those of DundafF heard this honest exultation. 

The next morning this venerable man and other chiefs of similar 
consequence were summoned by Sir Richard Arnulf, the governor, 
to his palace, there to deliver in a schedule of their estates; "that quiet 
possession," the governor said, "might be granted to them under the 
great seal of Lord Aymer de Valence, the deputy-warden of Scot- 

The gray-headed knight, not being so active as his compeers of 
more juvenile years, happened to be the last who went to this tiger's 
den. Wrapped in his plaid, his silver hair covered with a blue bonnet, 
and leaning on his staff, he was walking along, attended by two do- 
mestics, when Sir John Graham met him at the gate of the palace. 
He smiled on him as he passed, and whispered, "It will not be long 
before my Wallace makes even the forms of vassalage unnecessary; 
and then these failing limbs may sit undisturbed at home." 

"God grant it!" returned Graham; and he saw Sir Ronald ad- 
mitted within the interior gate. The servants were ordered to remain 
without. Sir John walked there some time, expecting the reappear- 
ance of the knight; but after an hour, finding no signs of regress 
from the palace, and thinking his father might be wondering at his 
delay, he turned his steps towards his own lodgings. While passing 
along, he met several Southron detachments hurrying across the 


streets. In the midst of some of these companies he saw one or two 
Scottish men of rank, strangers to him, but who, by certain indications, 
seemed to be prisoners. He did not go far before he met a chieftain 
in these painful circumstances whom he knew; but as he was hastening 
towards him, the noble Scot raised his manacled hand, and turned 
away his head. This was a warning to the young knight, who darted 
into an alley which led to the gardens of his father's lodgings, and 
was hurrying forward when he met one of his own servants running 
in quest of him. 

Panting with haste, he informed his master that a party of armed 
men had come, under De Valence's warrant, to seize Lord DundafF 
and bear him to prison, to lie there with others who were charged 
with having taken part in a conspiracy with the grandfather of the 
insurgent Wallace. 

The officer of the band who took Lord Dundaff told him in the 
most insulting language that "Sir Ronald, his ringleader, with 
eighteen nobles, his accomplices, had already suffered the punishment 
of their crime, and were lying, headless trunks, in the judgment-hall." 

"Haste, therefore," repeated the man; "my lord bids you haste 
to Sir William Wallace and require his hand to avenge his kinsman's 
blood and to free his countrymen from prison. These are your 
father's commands; he directed me to seek you and give them to you." 

Alarmed for the life of his father, Graham hesitated how to act 
on the moment. To leave him, seemed to abandon him to the death 
the others had received; and yet, only by obeying him could he have 
any hopes of averting his threatened fate. Once seeing the path he 
ought to pursue, he struck immediately into it, and giving his signet 
to the servant, to assure Lord Dundaff of his obedience, he mounted 
a horse which had been brought to the town end for that purpose, and 
setting off full speed, allowed nothing to stay him till he reached 
Dumbarton castle. There, hearing that Wallace was gone to Bute, 
he threw himself into a boat, and plying every oar, reached that island 
in a shorter space of time than the voyage had ever before been 

Being now conducted into the presence of the chief, he narrated 
his tale with a simplicity which would have instantly drawn the 
retributive sword of Wallace had he had no kinsman to avenge, no 
friend to release from the Southron dungeons. But as the case stood, 
his bleeding grandfather lay before his eyes, and the ax hung over 
the heads of tke most virtuous nobles of his country. 

He heard the chieftain to an end without speaking or altering the 
stern attention of his countenance. But at the close, with his brows 


denouncing some tremendous fate, he rose. "Sir John Graham," 
said he, "I attend you." 

"Whither?" demanded Murray. 

"To Ayr," answered Wallace. "This moment I will set out for 
Dumbarton, to bring away the sinews of my strength. God will be 
our speed! and then this arm shall show how I loved that good old 

"Your men," interrupted Graham, "are already awaiting you on 
the opposite shore. I presumed to command for you. For on enter- 
ing Dumbarton, and finding you were absent, I dared to interpret 
your mind, and to order Sir Alexander Scrymgeour and Sir Roger 
Kirkpatrick, with all your own force, to follow me to the coast of 

"Thank you, my friend," cried Wallace, grasping his hand; "may 
I ever have such interpreters. I cannot stay to bid your uncle fare- 
well," said he to Lord Andrew. "Remain to tell him to bless me 
with his prayers, and then, dear IMurray, follow me to Ayr." 

Ignorant of what the stranger had imparted, at the sight of the 
chiefs approaching from the castle gate Edwin hastened with the 
news that all was ready for embarkation. He was hurrying out his 
information when the altered countenance of his general checked him. 
He looked at the stranger. His face was agitated and severe. He 
turned towards his cousin. All there was grave and distressed. Again 
he glanced at Wallace. No word was spoken, but every look threat- 
ened ; and Edwin saw him leap into the boat followed by the stranger. 
The astonished boy, though unnoticed, would not be left behind, and 
stepping in also, sat down beside his chief. 

"I shall follow you in an hour." exclaimed Murray. The seamen 
pushed off; then giving loose to their swelling snil, in less than ten 
minutes the light vessel was wafted out of the little harbor, and turn- 
ing a point, those in the castle saw it no more. 



While the little bark bounded over the waves towards the mainland, 
its passengers bent towards each other, intent on the further in- 
formation they were to receive. 

"Here is the list of the murdered chiefs, and of those who are in 
the dungeons expecting the like treatment," continued Graham, hold- 
ing out a parchment; "it was given to me by my faithful servant." 
Wallace took it, but seeing his grandfather's name at the top he 
could look no farther. "Gallant Graham," said he, "if the sword of 
Heaven be with us, not one perpetrator of this horrid massacre shall 
be alive to-morrow to repeat the deed." 

"What massacre?" Edwin ventured to inquire. Wallace put the 
parchment into his hand. Edwin opened the roll, and on seeing the 
words, "A list of the Scottish chiefs murdered on the 18th of June, 
1297, in the judgment-hall of the English barons at Ayr," his cheek 
reddened with the hue of indignation; but when the name of his gen- 
eral's grandfather met his sight, his horror-struck eye sought the face 
of Wallace, who was now in earnest discourse with Graham. 

Forbearing to interrupt him, Edwin continued to read over the 
blood-registered names. In turning the page his eye glanced to the 
opposite side, and he saw at the head of "A list of prisoners in the 
dungeons of Ayr," the name of Lord DundafF, and immediately after 
it that of Lord Ruthven. He uttered a piercing cry, and extending 
his arms to Wallace, the terror-struck boy exclaimed, "My father 
is in tkeir hands! Oh! if you are indeed my brother, fly to Ayr and 
save him!" 

Wallace took up the open list which Edwin had dropped. He 
saw the name of Lord Ruthven amongst the prisoners, and folding 
his arms round this affectionate son, "Compose yourself," said he, 
"it is to Ayr I am going, and if the God of justice be our speed, your 
father and Lord DundafF shall not see another day in prison." 

"Who is this youth?" inquired Graham. "To which of the noble 
companions of my captive father is he son?" 

"To William Ruthven," answered Wallace, "the valiant Lord 
of the Carse of Gowrie. And it is a noble scion from that glorious 



root. He it was that enabled me to win Dumbarton. Look up, my 
brother!" cried Wallace, "look up, and hear me recount the first- 
fruits of your maiden arms to our gallant friend." 

Covered with blushes arising from emotion, as well as from a 
consciousness of having won the praises of his general, Edwin rose, 
and bowing to Sir John, still leaned his head upon the shoulder of 
Wallace, who began the recital of his first acquaintance with young Sir 
Edwin. He enumerated every particular: his bringing the detach- 
ment from Bothwell to Glenfinlass, his scaling the walls of Dum- 
barton to make the way smooth to the Scots to ascend, and his after 
prowess in that well-defended fortress. As Wallace proceeded, the 
wonder of Graham was raised to a pitch only to be equaled by his 
admiration; and taking the hand of Edwin, "Receive me, brave 
youth," said he, "as your second brother; Sir William Wallace is 
your first; but this night we shall fight side by side for our fathers, 
and let that be our bond of kindred." 

Edwin pressed the young chief's cheek with his innocent lips. 
"Let us together free them," cried he, "and then we shall be born 
twins in happiness." 

"So be it," cried Graham, "and Sir William Wallace be the 
sponsor of that hour." 

Wallace smiled on them, and turning his head towards the shore 
when the vessel doubled a certain point, he saw the beach covered 
with armed men. To be sure they were his own, he drew his sword 
and waved it in the air. At that moment a hundred falchions flashed 
in the sunbeams, and the shouts of "Wallace!" came loudly on the 

Graham and Edwin started on their feet; the seamen plied their 
oars; the boat dashed into the breakers, and Wallace, leaping on 
shore, was received with acclamations by his eager soldiers. 

He no sooner landed than he commenced his march. Murray 
joined him on the banks of the Irwin, and as Ayr was no great dis- 
tance from that river, at two hours before midnight the little army 
entered Laglane wood, where they halted, while Wallace with his 
chieftains proceeded to reconnoiter the town. He had already de- 
clared his plan of destruction, and Graham, as a first measure, went 
to the spot he had fixed on with Macdougal, his servant, as a place 
of rendezvous. He returned with the man, who informed Wallace 
that in honor of the lands of the murdered chiefs having been that 
day partitioned by De Valence amongst certain lords, a grand feast 
v\'as going on in the governor's palace. Under the very roof where 


they had shed the blood of the trusting Scots, they were now keeping 
this carousal. 

"Now, then, is our time to strike!" cried Wallace; and ordering 
detachments of his men to take possession of the avenues to the town, 
he set forth with others to reach the front of the castle gates. The 
darkness being so great that no object could be distinctly seen, they 
had not gone far before Macdougal, who had undertaken to be their 
guide, discovered by the projection of a hill on the right that he had 
lost the road. 

"Our swords will find one!" exclaimed Kirkpatrick. 

Unwilling to miss any advantage, in a situation where so much 
was at stake, Wallace gladly hailed a twinkling light, which gleamed 
from what he supposed the window of a distant cottage. Kirkpatrick, 
with Macdougal, offered to go forward and explore what it might be. 
In a few minutes they arrived at a thatched building, from which, to 
their surprise, issued the wailing strains of the coronach. Kirkpatrick 
paused. Its melancholy notes were sung by female voices. Hence, 
there being no danger in applying to such harmless inhabitants to 
learn the way to the citadel, he proceeded to the door, when, intending 
to knock, the weight of his mailed arm burst open its slender latch, 
and discovered two poor women, in an inner apartment, wringing 
their hands over a shrouded corse. While the chief entered his 
friend came up. Murray and Graham, struck with sounds never 
breathed over the vulgar dead, lingered at the porch, wondering what 
noble Scot could be the subject of lamentation in so lowly an abode. 
The stopping of these two chieftains impeded the steps of Wallace, 
who was pressing forward, without eye or ear for an5i;hing but the 
object of his march. Kirkpatrick at that moment appeared on the 
threshold, and without a word, putting forth his hand, seized the arm 
of his commander and pulled him into the cottage. Before Wallace 
could ask the reason of this, he saw a woman run forward with a 
light in her hand, the beams of which falling on the face of the knight 
of Ellerslie, with a shriek of joy she rushed towards him and threw 
jherself upon his neck. 

He instantly recognized Elspa, his nurse, the faithful attendant 
of his grandfather, and with an anguish of recollections that almost 
unmanned him, he returned her embrace. 

"Here he lies!" cried the old woman, drawing him towards the 
rushy bier; and before he had time to demand "Who?" she pulled 
down the shroud and disclosed the body of Sir Ronald Crawford. 
Wallace gazed on it with a look of such dreadfid import that Edwin, 
whose anxious eyes sought his countenance, trembled with horror. 


"Sorry, sorry bier for the good Lord Ronald!" cried the old 
woman; "a poor wake to mourn the loss of him who was the benefactor 
of all the country round. But had I not brought him here the salt 
sea must have been his grave." Here sobs prevented her utterance, 
but after a short pause, she related that as soon as the woful tidings 
were brought, she and the clan's-folk who would not swear fidelity 
to the new lord were driven from the house. She hastened to the 
theater of massacre, and there beheld the bodies of the murdered 
chiefs drawn on sledges to the seashore. Elspa knew that of her 
master by a scar on his breast which he had received in the battle of 
Largs. When she saw corpse after corpse thrown with a careless 
hand into the waves, and the man approached who was to cast the 
honored chief of Monktown to the same unhallowed burial, she threw 
herself frantically on the body, and so moved the man's compassion, 
that, taking advantage of the time when his comrades were out of 
sight, he permitted her to wrap the dead Sir Ronald in her plaid and 
so carry him away between her sister and herself. But ere she had 
raised her sacred burden the man directed her to seek the venerable 
head from amongst the others which lay mingled in a sack. Drawing 
it forth she placed it beside the body, and then hastily retired with 
both to the hovel where Wallace had found her. She had hoped that 
in so lonely an obscurity she might have performed without notice a 
chieftain's rites to the remains of the murdered lord of tlie very lands 
on which she wept him. These over, she meant he should be interred 
in secret by the fathers of a neighboring church which he had once 
richly endowed. With these intentions she and her sister were chant- 
ing over him the sad dirge of their country when Sir Roger Kirk- 
patrick burst open the door. 

Wallace looked upon his grandfather's body with a countenance 
whose deadly hue gave fire to the denunciation of his eyes. "Was it 
necessary," said he, "to turn my heart to iron that I was brought to 
see this sight?" All the tremendous purpose of his soul was read in 
his face while he bent above the bier. His lips again moved, but none 
heard what he said. He rushed from the hut, and with rapid strides 
proceeded in profound silence towards the palace. 

He well knew that no honest Scot could be under that roof. The 
building, though magnificent, was altogether a structure of wood; 
to fire it, then, was his determination. To destroy all at once in the 
theater of their cruelty was his resolution ; for they were not soldiers 
he was seeking, but assassins, and to pitch his brave Scots in the open 
field against such unmanly wretches would be to dishonor his men. 

All being quiet in the streets through which he passed, and having 


set men at the mouth of every sally-port of the citadel, he made a 
bold attack upon the guard at the barbican-gate, and ere they could 
give the alarm, all being slain, he and his chosen troop entered the 
portal and made direct to the palace. The lights which blazed through 
the windows of the banqueting-hall showed him the spot ; and having 
detached Graham and Edwin to storm the keep where their fathers 
were confined, he took the half-intoxicated sentinels at the palace- 
gates by surprise, and striking them into a sleep from which they 
would wake no more, he fastened the doors upon the assassins. His 
men surrounded the building with hurdles filled with combustibles 
which they had prepared according to his directions; and, when all 
was ready, Wallace, with a spirit of retribution nerving every limb, 
mounted to the roof, and tearing off the shingles, with a flaming 
brand in his hand, showed himself to the affrighted revelers beneath, 
and as he threw it blazing amongst them he cried aloud, "The blood 
of the murdered calls for vengeance, and it comes !" 

At that instant the matches were put to the fagots which sur- 
rounded the building, and the party within springing from their seats 
hastened towards the doors. All were fastened on them, and retreat- 
ing into the midst of the room they fearfully looked towards the 
tremendous figure above, which, like a supernatural being, seemed 
indeed come to rain fire upon their guilty heads. Some shook with 
superstitious dread; others, driven to despair, with horrible execra- 
tions again strove to force a passage through the doors. A second 
glance told De Valence whose was the hand which had launched the 
thunderbolt at his feet, and, turning to Sir Kichard Arnulf, he cried 
in a voice of horror, "My arch-enemy is there!" 

Thick smoke rising from within and without the building now 
obscured his terrific form. The shouts of the Scots, as the fire covered 
its walls, and the streaming flames poured into every opening of the 
building, raised such a terror in the breasts of the wretches within, 
that, with the most horrible cries, they again and again flew to the 
doors to escape. Not an avenue appeared; almost suffocated with 
smoke and scorched by the blazing rafters which fell from the burning 
roof, they at last made a desperate attempt to break a passage through 
the great portal. Arnulf was at their head, and, sunk to abjectness 
by his despair, in a voice which terror rendered piercing he called 
for mercy. The words reached the ear of Sir Roger Kirkpatrick, 
who stood nearest to the door. In a voice of thunder he replied, 
"That ye gave, ye shall receive. Where was mercy when our fathers 
and our brothers fell beneath your murderous axes?" 

Aymer de Valence came up at this moment with a wooden pillar 


which he and the strongest men in the company had torn from under 
the gallery that surrounded the room, and, with all their strength 
dashing it against the great door, they at last drove it from its bolts. 
But now a wall of men opposed them. Desperate at the sight, and 
with a burning furnace in their rear, it was not the might of man that 
could prevent their escape; and with the determination of despair, 
rushing forward the foremost rank of the Scots fell. But ere the 
exulting Southrons could press out into the open space, Wallace him- 
self had closed upon them, and Arnulf. the merciless Arnulf, whose 
voice had pronounced the sentence of death upon Sir Ronald Craw- 
ford, died beneath his hand. 

Wallace was not aware that he had killed the Governor of Ayr 
till the exclamations of his enemies informed him that the instigator 
of the massacre was slain. This even was welcome news to the Scots, 
and hoping that the next death would be that of De Valence, they 
pressed on with redoubled energ^^ 

INIeanwhile the men who guarded the prisoners in the keep, having 
their commanders with them, made a stout resistance there, and one 
of the officers, seeing a possible advantage, stole out, and gathering a 
company of the scattered garrison, suddenly taking Graham in flank, 
made no inconsiderable havoc amongst that part of his division. 
Edwin blew the signal for assistance. Wallace heard the blast, and 
seeing the day was won at the palace, he left the finishing of the affair 
to Kirkpatrick and IMurray, and, drawing off a small party to re- 
enforce Graham, he took the Southron officer by surprise. The 
enemy's ranks fell around him like corn beneath the sickle; and grasp- 
ing a huge battering-ram, which his men had found, he burst open 
the door of the keep. Graham and Edwin rushed in; and Wallace, 
sounding his own bugle with the notes of victory, his reserves, whom 
he had placed at the ends of the streets, entered in every direction 
and received the flying soldiers of De Valence uj)on their pikes. 

Dreadful was now the carnage, but the relenting heart of Wallace 
pleaded for bleeding humanity, and he ordered the trumpet to sound 
a parley. He was obeyed; and, standing on an adjacent mound, 
he proclaimed that "whoever had not been accomplices in the horrible 
massacre of the Scottish chiefs, if they would ground their arms, and 
take an oath never to serve again against Scotland, their lives should 
be spared." 

Hundreds of swords fell to the ground, and their late holders, 
kneeling at his feet, took the oath prescribed. At the head of those 
who surrendered appeared the captain who had commanded at the 
prison. He was the only officer of all the late garrison who survived ; 


and when he saw that not one of his companions existed to go through 
the same humihating ceremony, with an aghast countenance he said 
to Wallace, as he presented his sword, "Then I must believe that, 
with this weapon, I am surrendering to Sir William Wallace the 
possession of this castle and the government of Ayr. I see not one 
of my late commanders — all must be slain; and for me to hold out 
longer would be to sacrifice my men. But I serve severe exactors; 
and I hope that your testimony, my conqueror, will assure my king 
I fought as became his standard." 

Wallace gave him a gracious answer, and committing him to the 
generous care of jMurray, he turned to give orders to Ker respecting 
the surrendered and the slain. During these momentous events 
Graham had deemed it prudent that, exhausted by anxiety and priva- 
tions, the noble captives should not come forth to join in the battle, 
and not until the sound of victory echoed through the arches of their 
dungeons would he suffer the eager Dundaff to see and thank his 
deliverer. Meanwhile the young Edwin appeared before the eyes 
of his father like the angel who opened the prison gates to Peter; 
after embracing him with all a son's fondness; after recounting in a 
few hasty sentences the events which had brought him to be a com- 
panion of Sir William Wallace, and to avenge the injuries of Scotland 
in Ayr, he knocked off the chains of his amazed father. Eager to 
perform the like service to all who had suffered in the like manner, 
and accompanied by the happy Lord Ruthven, he hastened around 
to the other dungeons and gladly proclaimed to the astonished in- 
mates freedom and safety. Having rid them of their shackles, he 
had just entered with his noble company into the vaulted chamber 
which contained the released Lord DundafF when the peaceful clarion 
sounded. At the joyful tidings Graham started on his feet. "Now, 
my father, you shall see the bravest of men!" 

Morning was spreading in pale light over the heavens when Wal- 
lace, turning round at the glad voice of Edwin, beheld the released 
nobles. This was the first time he had ever seen the Lords Dundaif 
and Ruthven, and, while welcoming to his friendship those to whom 
his valor had given freedom, how great was his surprise to see in the 
person of a prisoner suddenly brought before him Sir John Monteith, 
the young chieftain whom he had parted with a few months ago at 
Douglas, and from whose fatal invitation to that castle he might date 
the ruin of his happiness. 

"We found Sir John Monteith amongst the slain before the 
palace," said Ker; "he, of the whole party, alone breathed. How he 
came there I know not; but I have brought him hither to explain it 


himself." Ker withdrew to finish the interment of the dead. Mon- 
teith, still leaning on the arm of a soldier, grasped Wallace's hand: 
"My brave friend," cried he, "to owe my liberty to you is a twofold 
pleasure; for," added he, in a lowered voice, "I see before me the 
man who is to verify the wt)rds of Baliol, and be not only the guar- 
dian, but the possessor of the treasure he committed to our care." 

Wallace, who had never thought on the coffer since he knew it 
was under the protection of St, Fillan, shook his head. "A far dif- 
ferent meed do I seek, my friend," said he; "to behold these happy 
countenances of my liberated countrymen is greater reward to me 
than would be the development of all the mysteries which the head 
of Baliol could devise." 

"Aye!" cried DundafF, who overheard this part of the conversa- 
tion, "had we rejected Bahol, we had never been ridden by Edward. 
But the rowel has gored the flanks of us all, and who amongst us will 
not lay himself and fortune at the foot of him who plucks away the 
tyrant's heel?" 

"If all held our cause in the light that you do," returned Wallace, 
"the blood which these Southrons have sown would rise up to over- 
whelm the murderers. But how," inquired he, turning to Monteith, 
"did you happen to be in Ayr at this period? and how, above all, 
amongst the slaughtered Southrons at the palace?" 

Sir John Monteith readily replied: "My adverse fate accounts 
for all." He then proceeded to inform Wallace that on the very night 
in which they parted at Douglas, Sir Arthur Hesselrigge was told 
the story of the box, and accordingly sent to have IMonteith brought 
prisoner to Lanark. He lay in the dungeons of its citadel at the time 
Wallace entered that town and destroyed the governor. Though 
the Scots did not pursue the advantage offered by the panic into which 
this retribution threw their enemies, care was immediately taken by 
the Enghsh lieutenant to prevent a repetition of the same disaster; 
and, in consequence, every suspected person was seized, and those 
already in confinement loaded with chains. Monteith being known 
as a friend of Wallace, was sent under a strong guard towards Stir- 
ling, there to stand his trial before Cressingham. "By a lucky 
chance," said he, "I made my escape; but I was soon retaken by 
another party and conveyed to Ayr, where the Lieutenant-Governor 
Arnulf, discovering my talents for music, compelled me to sing at 
his entertainments. For this purpose he last night confined me in 
the banqueting-room at the palace, and thus, when the flames sur- 
rounded that building, I found myself exposed to die the death of a 
traitor. Snatching up a sword, and striving to join my brave coun- 


trymen, the Southrons impeded my passage, and I fell under their 

Happy to have rescued his old acquaintance from further in- 
dignities, Wallace committed him to Edwin to lead into the citadel. 
Then taking the colors of Edward from the ground, where the 
Southron officer had laid them, he gave them to Sir Alexander 
Scrymgeour, with orders to fill their former station on the citadel 
with the standard of Scotland, which action he considered as the seal 
of each victory. 

The standard was no sooner raised than the clarion of triumph 
was blown from every warlike instrument in the garrison; and the 
Southron captain, placing himself at the head of his disarmed troops, 
under the escort of Murray, marched out of the castle. He announced 
his design to proceed immediately to Newcastle, and thence embark 
with his men to join their king in Flanders. Not more than two 
hundred followed their officer in this expedition; the rest, to nearly 
double that number, being like the garrison of Dumbarton, Irish and 
Welsh, were glad to escape enforced servitude. 

Some other necessary regulations being then made, Wallace dis- 
missed his gallant Scots to find refreshment in the well-stored barracks 
of the dispersed Southrons, and retired himself to join his friends 
in the citadel. 



In the course of an hour Murray returned from having seen the 
departing Southrons beyond the barriers of the township. But he 
did not come alone: he was accompanied by Lord Auchinleck, the 
son of one of the betrayed barons who had fallen in the palace of Ayr. 
This young chieftain, at the head of his vassals, hastened to support 
the man whose hand had thus satisfied his revenge; and when he met 
Murray at the north gate of the town, and recognized in his flying 
banners a friend of Scotland, he was happy to make himself known 
to an officer of Wallace, and to be conducted to that chief. 

While Lord Andrew and his new colleague were making the range 
of the suburbs, the glad progress of the victor Scots had turned the 
whole aspect of that lately gloomy city. Doors and windows, so 
recently closed in mourning for the sanguinary deeds done in the 
palace, now opened teeming with smiling inhabitants. 

Sons who in secret had lamented the treacherous death of their 
fathers now opened their gates and joined the valiant troops in the 
streets. Widowed wives and fatherless daughters almost forgot they 
had been bereaved of their natural protectors when they saw Scot- 
land rescued from their enemies. 

Thus, then, with every heart rejoicing, every house teeming with 
numbers to swell the ranks of Wallace, did he, the day after he had 
entered Ayr, see all arranged for its peaceful establishment. But 
ere he bade that town adieu in which he had been educated, and 
where almost every man, remembering its preserver's boyish years, 
thronged round him with recollections of former days, one duty yet 
demanded his stay, — to pay funeral honors to the remains of his 
beloved grandfather. 

Accordingly the time was fixed, and with every solemnity due 
to his virtues and his rank Sir Ronald Crawford was buried in the 
chapel of the citadel. The mourning families of the chiefs who had 
fallen in the same bloody theater with himself closed the sad retinue, 
and while the holy rites committed his body to the ground, the sacred 
mass was extended to those who had been plunged into the weltering 




While Wallace confided the aged Elspa and her sister to the care 
of Sir Reginald Crawford, to whom he also resigned the lands of his 
grandfather, "Cousin," said he, "I leave you to be the representa- 
tive of your venerable uncle, to cherish these poor women whom he 
loved, to be the protector of his people and the defender of the town. 
The citadel is under the command of the Baron of Auchinleck, he, 
with his brave followers, being the first to hail the burning of the 
Barns of Ayr." 

After these dispositions Wallace called a review of his troops, 
and found that he could leave five hundred men at Ayr and march 
an army of at least two thousand out of it. 

His present design was to take his course to Berwick, and, by 
seizing every castle of strength in his way, form a chain of works 
across the country which would not only bulwark Scotland against 
any further inroads from its enemies, but render the subjugation 
of the interior Southron garrisons more certain. 

On the third morning after the conflagration of the palace, Wal- 
lace quitted Ayr, and marching over its hills, manned every watch- 
tower on their summits, for now, whithersoever he moved, he found 
his victories had preceded him, and all, from hall to hovel, turned 
out to greet and offer him their services. Thus, heralded by fame, 
the panic-struck Southron governors fled at the distant view of his 
standards; the flames of Ayr seemed to menace them all, and castle 
and fortalice opened their gates before him. 

Arrived under those blood-stained towers, which had so often 
been the objects of dispute between the powers of England and of 
Scotland, he prepared for their immediate attack. Berwick being a 
valuable fortress to the enemy, not only as a key to the invaded king- 
dom, but a point whence, by their ships, they commanded the whole 
of the eastern coast of Scotland, Wallace expected that a desperate 
stand would be made here to stop the progress of his arms; but being 
aware that the most expeditious mode of warfare was the best adapted 
to promote his cause, he first took the town by assault, and then, 
having driven the garrison into the citadel, assailed it by a vigorous 

After ten days' hard duty before the walls, Wallace devised a 
plan to obtain possession of the English ships which commanded the 
harbor. He found among his own troops many men who had been 
used to a seafaring life ; these he disguised as fugitive Southrons from 
the late defeats, and sent in boats to the enemy's vessels which lay 
in the roads. By these means getting possession of those nearest 
to the town, he manned them with his own people, and going out 


with them himself, in three days made himself master of every ship 
on the coast. 

By this maneuver the situation of the besieged was rendered so 
hopeless that no mode of escape was left but by desperate sallies. 
They made them, but without other effect than weakening their 
strength and increasing their miseries. 

Foiled in every attempt, as their opponent, guessing their inten- 
tions, was prepared to meet their different essays, their governor 
stood without resource. Without provisions, without aid of any kind 
for his wounded men, and hourly annoyed by the victorious Scots, 
who continued day and night to throw showers of arrows and other 
missile weapons from the towers with which they had overtopped the 
walls, the unha])py Earl of Gloucester seemed ready to rush on 
death, to avoid the disgrace of surrendering the fortress. Wallace 
even found means to dam up the spring which had supplied the cita- 
del with water. The men, famished with hunger, smarting with 
wounds, and now perishing with thirst, threw themselves at the feet 
of their officers, imploring them to represent to their royal governor 
that if he held out longer he must defend the place alone, for they 
could not exist another day under their present sufferings. 

The earl, indeed, repented the rashness with which he had thrown 
himself unprovisioned into the citadel. When his first division had 
been overpowered in the assault on the town, his evil genius then 
suggested that it was best to take the second, unbroken, into the cita- 
del, and there await the arrival of a reenforcement by sea. But he 
thence beheld the ships which had defended the harbor seized by 
Wallace before his eyes. Hope was then crushed, and nothing but 
death or dishonor seemed to be his alternatives. To fall under the 
ruins of Berwick castle was his resolution. Such was the state of 
his mind when his officers appeared with the petition from his men; 
and in a wild despair he told them "they might do as they would, but 
for his part, the moment they opened the gates to the enemy, that 
should be the last of his life. He, that was the son-in-law of King 
Edward, would never yield his sword to a Scottish rebel." 

Terrified at these threats, the soldiers, who loved their general, 
declared themselves willing to die with him, and, as a last effort, pro- 
posed making a mine under the principal tower of the Scots, and, by 
setting fire to it, at least destroy the means by which they feared their 
enemies might storm the citadel. 

As Wallace gave his orders from this commanding station he ob- 
served the besieged passing in numbers behind a mound in a direction 
to the tower where he stood; he concluded what was their design, and 


ordering a countermine to be made, what he anticipated happened, 
and Murray, at the head of his miners, encountered those of the 
castle at the very moment they would have set fire to the combustibles 
laid to consume the tower. The instant struggle was violent but 
short, for the impetuous Scots drove their enfeebled adversaries 
through the aperture back into the citadel. At this crisis, Wallace, 
with a band of resolute men, sprang from the tower upon the wall, 
leaped into the midst of the conflict, and the battle became general. , 
It was decisive, for beholding the undaunted resolution with which 
the weakened and dying were supporting the cause their governor was 
determined to defend to the last, Wallace found his admiration and 
his pity alike excited, and resolved to stop the carnage. At the moment 
when a gallant officer, who, having assaulted him with the vehemence 
of despair, now lay disarmed under him; at that moment, when the 
discomfited knight exclaimed, "In mercy strike and redeem the honor 
of Ralph de Monthermer" (Earl of Gloucester), Wallace raised his 
bugle and sounded the note of peace. Every sword was arrested, and 
the universal clangor of battle was hushed in expecting silence. 

"Rise, brave earl!" cried Wallace to the governor; "I revere virtue 
too sincerely to take an unworthy advantage of my fortune. The 
valor of this garrison commands my respect, and, as a proof of my 
sincerity, I grant to it what I have never yet done to any : that your- 
self and these dauntless men march out with the honors of war and 
without any bonds on j^our future conduct towards us." 

While he was speaking, De Monthermer leaned gloomily on the 
sword he had returned to him, with his eyes fixed on his men. They 
answered his glance with looks that said they understood him, and 
])assing a few words in whispers to each other, one at last spoke aloud : 
"Decide for us, earl ; we are as ready to die as to live, so that in neither 
we may be divided from you." 

At this generous declaration the despair of De Monthermer gave 
way to nobler feelings, and he turned to Wallace, and stretching out 
his hand to him, "Noble Scot," said he, "your generosity and the fidel- 
ity of these heroic men have compelled me to accept the life I had 
resolved to lose under these walls rather than resign them. When I 
became the husband of King Edward's daughter, I believed myself 
pledged to victories or to death ; but there is a conquest greater than 
over hosts in the field ; and the husband of the Princess of England, 
the proud Earl of Gloucester, consents to live, to be a monument 
of Scottish nobleness, and of the fidelity of English soldiers." 

"You live, illustrious Englishman," returned Wallace, "to redeem 
that honor of which too many sons of England have robbed their 


country. Go forth, therefore, as my conqueror, for you have ex- 
tinguished that antipathy with which WilHam Wallace had vowed to 
extirpate every Southron from off this ravaged land. Honor, brave 
earl, makes all men brethren, and as a brother I open these gates for 
you to pass into your country. When there, if you ever remember 
William Wallace, let it be as a man who fights not for conquest, but 
to restore Scotland to her rights, and then resign his sword to peace." 

"I shall remember you. Sir William Wallace," returned De 
Monthermer; "and as a pledge of it, you shall never see me again 
in this country till I come an ambassador of that peace for which 
you fight. Had I not believed that Scotland was unworthy of free- 
dom, I should never have appeared upon her borders; but now that 
I see she has brave hearts within her, who resist oppression, I detest 
the zeal with which I volunteered to rivet her chains. And I repeat, 
that never again shall my hostile foot impress this land." 

These sentiments were answered in the same s])irit by his sol- 
diers, and the Scots, following the example of their leader, treated 
them with every kindness. After dispensing amongst them pro- 
visions, and appointing means to convey the wounded in comfort, 
Wallace bade a cordial farewell to the Earl of Gloucester, and his 
men conducted their reconciled enemies over the Tweed. There they 
parted. The English bent their course toward London, and the 
Scots returned to their victorious general. 



The happy effects of these rapid conquests were soon apparent. The 
fall of Berwick excited such a confidence in the minds of the neigh- 
boring chieftains that every hour brought fresh recruits to Wallace. 
Every mouth was full of the praises of the young conqueror; and 
while the men were emulous to share his glory, the women in their 
secret bowers put up prayers for the preservation of one so hand- 
some and so brave. 

Amongst the many of every rank and age who hastened to pay 
their respects to the dehverer of Berwick was Sir Richard Maitland, 
of Thirlestane, the Stalwarth Knight of Lauderdale. 

Wallace was no sooner told of the approach of the venerable chief 
than he set forth to bid him welcome. At sight of the champion 
of Scotland, Sir Richard threw himself off his horse with a military 
grace that might have become even youthful years, and hastening 
toward Wallace, clasped him in his arms. 

"Let me look on thee!" cried the old knight; "let me feast my 
eyes on a true Scot!" While he spoke he viewed Wallace from 
head to foot. "I knew Sir Ronald Crawford and thy valiant father," 
continued he. "Oh, had they lived to see this day! But the base 
murder of the one thou hast nobly avenged, and the honorable grave 
of the other on Loudon hill, thou wilt cover with a monument of thine 
own glories." 

While he thus discoursed, Wallace drew him towards the castle, 
and there presented to him the two nephews of the Earl of Mar. 
He paid some warm compliments to Edwin on his early success in 
the career of glory; and then turning to Murray, "Aye," said he, "it 
is joy to me to see the valiant house of Bothwell in the third genera- 
tion. Thy grandfather and myself were boys together at the corona- 
tion of Alexander the Second, and that is eighty years ago. Since 
then what have I not seen! the death of two noble Scottish kings; our 
blooming princes ravished from us by untimely fates; the throne 
sold to a coward, and at last seized by a foreign power. Then, in my 
own person, I have been the father of as brave and beauteous a family 
as ever blessed a parent's eye ; but they are all torn from me. Two 



of my sons sleep on the plains of Dunbar; my third, my dauntless 
AVilliam, since that fatal day has been kept a prisoner in England. 
And my daughters, the tender blossoms of my aged years, they grew 
around me, the fairest lilies of the land; but they too are passed 
away. My last and only daughter married the liord Mar; and in 
giving birth to my dear Isabella she, too, died. Ah, my good young 
knight, were it not for that living image of her mother, I should be 
alone; my hoary head would descend to the grave unwept, unre- 

The joy of the old man having recalled such melancholy remem- 
brances, he wept upon the shoulder of Edwin, who had drawn so 
near that the story which was begun to Murray was ended to him. 
To give the mourning father time to recover himself, Wallace was 
moving away, when he was met by Ker, bringing information that 
a youth had just arrived in breathless haste from Stirling with a 
sealed packet which he would not deliver into any hands but those 
of Sir William Wallace. Wallace requested his friends to show 
every attention to the Lord of Thirlestane, and then withdrew to meet 
the messenger. 

On his entering the anteroom, the youth sprang forwards; but 
suddenly checking himself, he stood, as if irresolute whom to address. 

"This is Sir William Wallace, young man," said Ker; "deliver 
your embassy." 

At these words the youth pulled a packet from his bosom, and, 
putting it into the chief's hand, retired in confusion. Wallace gave 
orders to Ker to take care of him, and then turned to inspect its con- 
tents. He wondered from whom it could come, aware of no Scot 
in Stirling who would dare to write to him while that town was 
possessed by the enemy; but not losing a moment in conjecture, he 
broke the seal. 

How was he startled at the first words ! and how was every energy 
of his heart roused to redoubled action when he turned to the signa- 
ture! The first words in the letter were these: 

"A daughter, trembling for the life of her father, presumes to 
address Sir William Wallace." The signature was "Helen Mar." 
He began the letter again: 

"A daughter, trembling for the life of her father, presumes to 
address Sir William Wallace. You have been his deliverer from the 
sword, from chains, and from the waves. Refuse not to save him 
again to whom you have so often given life, and hasten, brave Wal- 
lace, to preserve the Earl of Mar from the scaffold. 

"A cruel deception brought him from the Isle of Bute, where you 


imagined you had left him in security. Lord Aymer de Valence, 
escaping a second time from your sword, fled, under covert of the 
night, from Ayr to Stirling. Cressingham, the rapacious robber of 
all our castles, found in him an apt coadjutor. They concerted how 
to avenge your late successes; and Cressingham suggested that you 
would most easily be made to feel through the bosoms of your friends. 
These cruel men have therefore determined, by a mock trial, to con- 
demn my father to death, and thus put themselves in possession of 
his lands. 

"Having learned from some spy that Lord ]Mar had retired to 
Bute, these enemies to our country sent a body of men disguised as 
Scots to Gourock. There they despatched a messenger into the 
island to inform Lord Mar that Sir William Wallace was on the 
banks of the frith waiting to converse with him. My noble father, 
unsuspicious of treachery, hurried to the summons. Lady Mar ac- 
companied him, and so both fell into the snare. 

"They were brought prisoners to Stirling, where another afflic- 
tion awaited him, — he was to see his daughter and his sister in cap- 

"After I had been betrayed from St. Fillan's monastery by the 
falsehoods of one Scottish knight, and rescued from his power by 
the gallantry of another, I sought the protection of my aunt, Lady 
Ruthven, who then dwelt at Alloa, on the banks of the Forth. Her 
husband had been invited to Ayr, by Governor Arnulf, and with 
many other lords was thrown into prison. Report says, bravest of 
men, that you have given freedom to my betrayed uncle. 

"The moment Lord Ruthven's person was secured, his estates were 
seized, and my aunt and myself being found at Alloa, we were car- 
ried prisoners to this city. Lady Ruthven's first-born son was slain 
in the fatal day of Dunbar, and in terror of the like fate, she has 
placed her eldest surviving boy in a convent. 

"Some days after our arrival, my dear father was brought to 
Stirling. While he was yet passing through the streets rumor told 
my aunt that the Scottish lord then leading to prison was her beloved 
brother. She flew to tell me the dreadful tidings. I heard no more, 
till having rushed into the streets, and bursting through every obstacle 
of crowd and soldiers, I found myself clasped in my father's shackled 

"The next day a packet was put into my aunt's hands containing 
a few precious lines from my father to me; also a letter from the 
countess to Lady Ruthven, full of your goodness to her and to my 
father, and narrating the cruel manner in which they had been rav- 


ished from the asylum in which you had placed them. She then 
said, that could she finds means of apprising you of the danger in 
which she and her husband are now involved, she would be sure of 
a second rescue. Whether she- has found these means I know not, 
for all communication between us has been rendered impracticable. 
The messenger that brought the packet was a good Southron who 
had been won by Lady Mar's entreaties, but on his quitting our 
apartments he was seized by a servant of De Valence, and on the 
same day put publicly to death, to intimidate all others from the like 
compassion to unhappy Scotland. 

"Earl de Valence com]^elled my aunt to yield the packet to him. 
We had already read it, but feared the information it might give 
relative to you. In consequence of this circumstance I was made a 
closer prisoner. But captivity could have no terrors for me did it 
not divide me from my father. And, grief on gi'ief! what words 
have I to write it? they have condemned him to die! That fatal 
letter of my stepmother's was brought out against him, and as your 
adherent, they have sentenced him to lose his head. 

"I have knelt to Earl de Valence, I have implored my father's 
life at his hands, but to no purpose. He tells me that Cressingham 
at his side, and Ormsby by letters from Scone, declare it necessary 
that an execution of consequence should be made, to appal the dis- 
contented Scots, and that as no lord is more esteemed in Scotland 
than the Earl of JNIar, he must be the sacrifice. 

"Hasten, then, my father's preserver, to save him, for the sake of 
the country he loves, for the sake of the hapless beings dependent 
on his protection! I shall be on my knees till I hear your trumpet 
before the walls, for in you and Heaven now rest all the hopes of 
Helen Mar." 

A cold dew stood on the limbs of Wallace as he closed the letter. 
It might be too late. The sentence was passed on the earl, and his 
executioners were prompt as cruel ; the ax might already have fallen. 

He called to Ker for the messenger to be brought in. He en- 
tered. Wallace inquired how long he had been from Stirling. 
"Only thirty-four hours," replied the youth, adding that he had trav- 
eled night and day for fear the news of the risings in Annandale 
and the taking of Berwick should precipitate the earl's death. 

"I accompany you this instant," cried Wallace. "Ker, see that 
the troops get under arms." As he spoke he tunied into the room 
where he had left the Knight of Thirlestan. 

"Sir Richard Maitland," said he, willing to avoid exciting his 
alarm, "there is more work for us at Stirling. Lord Aymer de 


Valence has again escaped the death we thought had overtaken him, 
and is now in that citadel. I have just received a summons thither 
which I must obey." At these words Sir Roger Kirkpatrick gave 
a shout and rushed from the apartment. Wallace looked after him 
for a moment and then continued: "Follow us with your prayers, 
Sir Richard, and I shall not despair of sending blessed tidings to 
the banks of the Lauder." 

"What has happened?" inquired Murray, who saw that something 
more than the escape of De Valence had been imparted to his general. 

"We must spare this good old man," returned he, "and have him 
conducted to his home before I declare it publicly; but the Earl of 
Mar is again a prisoner, and in Stirling." 

Murray, who instantly comprehended his uncle's danger, speeded 
the departure of Sir Richard, and as Wallace held his stirrup, the 
chief laid his hand on his head and blessed him. Wallace bowed his 
head in silence, and the bridle being in the hand of Lord Andrew he 
led the horse out of the eastern gate of the town, where, taking leave 
of the veteran knight, he soon rejoined his commander. 

Wallace had informed them of the Earl of INIar's danger, and the 
policy, as well as justice, of rescuing so powerful a nobleman from 
the threatened execution. Lord Ruthven needed no arguments to 
precipitate him to the assistance of his brother and his wife, and the 
anxieties of Edwin were all awake when he knew that his mother was 
a prisoner. Lord Andrew smiled proudly when he returned his 
cousin's letter to Wallace. "We shall have the rogue on the nail 
yet," cried he; "my uncle's brave head is not ordained to fall by the 
stroke of such a coward." 

"So I believe," replied Wallace; and then turning to Lord Dun- 
daff, "My lord," said he, "I leave you governor of Berwick." 

The veteran warrior grasped Wallace's hand. "To be your rep- 
resentative in this fortress is the proudest station I have ever filled. 
My son must be my representative with you in the field." He waved 
Sir John Graham towards him; the young knight advanced, and Lord 
Dundaff placing his son's hands upon his target, continued: "Swear, 
that as this defends the body, you will ever strive to cover Scotland 
from her enemies, and that from this hour you will be the faithful 
follower of Sir William Wallace." 

"I swear," returned Graham, kissing the shield. Wallace pressed 
his hand. "I have brothers around me, rather than what the world 
calls friends. And with such fidelity to aid me, can I be otherwise 
than a victor?" 

Edwin, who stood near, whispered to Wallace as he turned towards 


his troops: "But amongst all these brothers, cease not to remember 
Eidwin, the youngest and the least. Ah, my beloved general, what 
Jonathan was to David I would be to thee ; only love me as David did 
Jonathan, and I shall be the happiest of the happy." 

At that moment Sir John Graham rej coined them, and some other 
captains coming up, Wallace made the proper dispositions, and every 
man took his station at the head of his division. 

Until the men had marched far beyond the chance of rumors reach- 
ing Thirlestane, they were not informed of the Earl of Mar's dan- 
ger. They conceived their present errand was the recapture of De 
Valence. "But at a proper moment," said Wallace, "they shall know 
the whole truth; for," added he, "the people who follow our stand- 
ards, not as liirelings, but with willing spirits, ought to know our 
reasons for requiring their services." 

"They who follow you," said Graham, "have too much confidence 
in their leader to require any reasons for his movements." 

"It is to place that confidence on a sure foundation, my brave 
friends," returned Wallace, "that I explain what there is no just 
reason to conceal." 

Sir Roger Kirkpatrick had been the first to fly to arms on the 
march to Stirling being mentioned, and when Wallace stood forward 
to declare that rest should be dispensed with till Stirling fell, the 
ardent knight darted over every obstacle to reach his aim; he flew to 
the van of his troops, and hailing them forward, "Come on!" cried 
he, "and in the blood of Cressingham let us forever sink King Ed- 
ward's Scottish crown." 

The shouts of the men, who seemed to drink in the spirit that 
blazed from Kirkpatrick's eyes, made the echoes of Lammermuir 
ring. It was the voice of liberty; leaping every bound, the eager 
van led the way and dragging their war-machines in the rear, the 
rest pressed on till they reached the Carron side. At the moment 
the foaming steed of Wallace was plunging into the stream to take 
the ford, Ker snatched the bridle of the horse. "My lord," cried 
he, "a man on full speed from Douglas castle has brought this 

In his march from Ayr Wallace had left Sir Eustace Maxwell 
governor of that castle and Monteith as his lieutenant. 

Wallace opened the packet and read as follows: 

The patriots in Annandale have been beaten by Lord de Warenne. Sir John 
Monteith, who volunteered to head them, is taken prisoner with twelve hundred men. 

Earl de Warenne comes to resume his arrogant title of Lord Warden of Scot- 
land, and thereby to relieve his deputy, Aymer de Valence, who is recalled to take 


possession of the lordship of Pembroke. In pursuance of his commission, the earl 
is now marching towards the Lothians, in the hope of intercepting your progress. 

Thanks to the information you send us of your movements, for being enabled 
to apprise you of this danger. I should have attempted to have checked the Southron 
by annoying his flanks had not his numbers rendered such an enterprise hopeless. 
But his aim being to come up with you, if you meet him in the van we shall have 
him in the rear; and, so surrounded, he must be cut to pieces. 

Ever my general's and Scotland's true servant, 

Eustace Maxwell. 

"What answer?" inquired Ker. 

Wallace hastily engraved with his dagger's point upon his gaunt- 
let, "Reviresco! {/ bud agaiii!) Our sun is above!" and desiring it 
might be given to the messenger to carry to Sir Eustace Maxwell, 
he refixed himself in his saddle and spurred over the Carron. 

The moon was near her meridian as the wearied troops halted on 
the deep shadows of the Carse of Stirling. An hour's rest was suf- 
ficient to restore the followers of Wallace, and as the morning 
dawned, the sentinels on the ramparts of the town were not only sur- 
prised to see a host below, but that part, by the most indefatigable 
labor and a silence like death, had not merely passed the ditch, but 
having gained the counterscarp, had fixed their movable towers, and 
were at that instant overlooking the highest bastions. 

At a sight so unexpected, which seemed to have arisen out of the 
earth like an exhalation, the Southrons, struck with dread, fled a 
moment from the walls, but immediately discovering their presence 
of mind they returned and discharged a cloud of arrows upon their 
assailants. A messenger meanwhile was sent into the citadel to 
apprise De Valence and Cressingham of the assault. The interior 
gates now sent forth thousands to the walls, but in proportion to the 
numbers which approached, the greater was the harvest of death 
prepared for the terrible arm of Wallace, whose tremendous war- 
wolfs throwing prodigious stones, and lighter springalls casting forth 
brazen darts, swept away file after file of the reenforcements. It 
grieved the heart of the Scottish commander to see so many valiant 
men urged to destruction; but still they advanced, and that his own 
might be preserved they must fall. To shorten the contest his dire- 
ful weapons were worked with redoubled energy, and so mortal a 
shower fell that the heavens seemed to rain iron. The crushed and 
stricken enemy, shrinking under the mighty tempest, forsook their 

The ramparts deserted, Wallace sprang from his tower upon the 
walls. At that moment De Valence opened one of the gates, and, 
at the head of a formidable body, charged the nearest Scots. A 


good soldier is never taken unawares, and Murray and Graham were 
prepared to receive him. Furiously driving him to a retrograde mo- 
tion, they forced him back into the town. But there all was con- 
fusion; Wallace had already put Cressingham and his legions to 
flight, and closely pursued by Kirkpatrick they threw themselves into 
the castle. Meanwhile the victorious Wallace surrounded the 
amazed De Valence, who, caught in double toils, called to his men 
to fight for their king, and neither give nor take quarter. 

The brave fellows obeyed, and while they fell on all sides he sup- 
ported them with a courage which horror of Wallace's vengeance for 
his grandfather's death, and the attempt on his own life in the hall 
at Dumbarton, rendered desperate. At last he encountered the con- 
quering chief arm to arm. Great was the dismay of De Valence at 
this meeting; but he resolved, if he must die, that the soul of his 
enemy should attend him to the other world. 

He fought, not with the steady valor of a warrior determined to 
vanquish or to die, but with the fury of despair. Drunk with rage, 
he made a desperate plunge at the heart of Wallace, — a plunge 
armed with all his strength ; but his sword missed its aim and entered 
the side of a youth who at that moment had thrown himself before 
his general. Wallace saw where the deadly blow fell, and instantly 
closing on the earl, with one grasp of his arm the chief hurled him 
to the ground, and, setting his foot upon his breast, would have 
buried his dagger there had not De Valence dropped his uplifted 
sword, and, with horror in every feature, raised his clasped hands in 

Wallace suspended the blow, and De Valence exclaimed, "My 
life, this once again, gallant Wallace! by your hopes of heaven, grant 
me mercy!" 

Wallace looked on the recreant with a glance which, had he pos- 
sessed the soul of a man, would have made him grasp at death rather 
than deserve a second. "And hast thou escaped me again?" cried 
Wallace; then turning his indignant eyes from the abject earl to his 
bleeding friend, "I yield him his life, Edwin, and you, perhaps, are 

"Forget not your own principles to avenge me," said Edwin; "he 
has only wounded me. But you are safe, and I hardly feel a smart." 

Wallace replaced his dagger in his girdle. "Rise, Lord de 
Valence, it is my honor, not my will that grants your life. You 
threw away your arms. I cannot strike even a murderer who bares 
his breast. I give you that mercy you denied to nineteen defenseless 


©Id men, whose hoary heads your ax brought with blood to the ground. 
Let memory be the sword I have withheld." 

The whole of the survivors in De Valence's train having surren- 
dered themselves when their leader fell, in a few minutes Wallace 
was surrounded by his chieftains bringing in the colors and the 
swords of their prisoners. 

"Sir Alexander Ramsaj'-," said he to a brave knight who, with his 
kinsman, William Blair, had joined him in the Lothians, "I con- 
fide Earl de Valence to your care. See that he is strongly guarded 
and has every respect, according to the honor of him to whom I 
commit this charge." 

The town was now in possession of the Scots, and Wallace having 
set off the rest of his prisoners to safe quarters, reiterated his per- 
suasions to Edwin to leave the ground and submit his wounds to the 
surgeon. "No, no," replied he; "the same hand that gave me this 
inflicted a worse on my general at Dumbarton; he kept the field then, 
and shall I retire now, and disgrace my example?" 

"Do as you will," answered Wallace, with a grateful smile, "so 
that you preserve a life that must never again be risked to save mine. 
While it is necessary for me to live, my Almighty Captain will shield 
me ; but when His word goes forth that I shall be recalled, it will not 
be in the power of friendship nor of hosts to turn the steel from my 

Edwin bowed his modest head, and having suffered a balsam to 
be poured into his wound, braced his brigandine over his breast, and 
was again at the side of his friend, just as he had joined Kirkpatrick 
before the citadel. The gates were firmly closed, and the dismaj^ed 
Cressingham was panting behind its walls as Wallace commanded 
the parley to be sounded. Afraid of trusting himself within arrow- 
shot of an enemy who he believed conquered by witchcraft, the terri- 
fied governor sent his lieutenant upon the walls to answer the sum- 

The herald of the Scots demanded the immediate surrender of 
the place. Cressingham was at that instant informed by a mes- 
senger that De Warenne was approaching with an immense army. 
Inflated with new confidence, he mounted the wall himself, and in 
haughty language returned for answer, "that he would fall under 
tlie towers of the citadel ])efore he would surrender to a Scottish 
rebel. And as an example of the fate which such a delinquent mer- 
its," continued he, "I will change the milder sentence passed on Lord 
Mar, and immediately hang him and all his family on these ramparts 
in sight of your insurgent army." 


"Then," cried the herald, "thus says Sir William Wallace: If 
even one hair on the heads of the Earl of Mar and his family fall 
with violence to the ground, every Southron soul who has this day 
surrendered to the Scottish arms shall lose his head by the ax." 

"We are used to the blood of traitors," cried Cressingham, "but 
the army of Earl de Warenne is at hand ; and it is at the peril of all 
your necks for the rebel, your master, to put his threat in execution. 
Withdraw, or you shall see the dead bodies of Donald Mar and his 
family fringing these battlements ; for no terms do we keep with man, 
woman, or child who is linked with treason." 

At these words an arrow winged from a hand behind Cressingham 
flew directly to the unvisored face of Wallace; but it struck too 
high, and ringing against his helmet fell to the ground. 

"Treachery!" resounded from every Scottish lip, while indignant 
at so villainous a rupture of the parley, every bow was drawn to the 
head, and a flight of arrows flew towards the battlements. All hands 
were now at work to bring the towers to the wall, and mounting on 
them, while the archers by their rapid showers drove the men from 
the ramparts, soldiers below, with pickaxes, dug into the wall to make 
a breach. 

Cressingham began to fear that his auxiliaries might arrive too 
late, but determining to gain time at least, he shot flights of darts 
and large stones from a thousand engines; also discharged burning 
combustibles over the ramparts, in hopes of setting fire to the enemy's 

But all his promptitude proved of no effect. The walls were 
giving way in parts, and Wallace was mounting by scaling-ladders 
and clasping the parapets with bridges from his towers. Driven to 
extremity, Cressingham resolved to try the attachment of the Scots 
for Lord IMar, ordered the imprisoned earl to be brought out upon 
the wall of the inner ballia. A rope was round his neck, which was 
instantly run through a groove that projected from the nearest tower. 

At this sight horror froze the blood of Wallace. But the earl, 
descrying his friend on the ladder which might soon carry him to the 
summit of the battlement, exclaimed, "Forward! Let not my span 
of life stand between my country and this glorious day for Scot- 
land's freedom!" 

"Execute the sentence!" cried Cressingham. 

At these words Murray'' and Edwin precipitated themselves upon 
the ramparts and mowed down all before them in a direction towards 
their uncle. The lieutenant who held the cord, aware of the im- 
policy of the cruel mandate, hesitated to fulfil it; and now fearing 


a rescue from the impetuous Scots, hurried his victim off the works 
back to his prison. Meanwhile Cressingham, perceiving that all 
would be lost should he suffer the enemy to gain this wall also, sent 
such numbers upon the brave Scots, who had followed the cousins, 
that, overcoming some and repelling others, they threw Murray with 
a sudden shock over the ramparts. Edwin was surrounded, and his 
successful adversaries were bearing him off, struggling and bleeding, 
when Wallace, springing like a lioness on hunters carrying away her 
young, rushed in singly amongst them. He seized Edwin, and with 
a backward step he fought his passage to one of the wooden towers 
he had fastened to the wall. 

Cressingham, being wounded in the head, commanded a parley to 
be sounded. 

"We have already taken Lord de Valence and his host prison- 
ers," returned Wallace, "and we grant j^ou no cessation of hostilities 
till you deliver up the Earl of JNIar and his family and surrender the 
castle into our hands." 

"Think not, proud boaster," cried the herald of Cressingham, 
"that we ask a parley to conciliate. It was to tell you, that if you do 
not draw off directly, not only the Earl of Mar and his family, but 
every Scottish prisoner within these walls, shall perish in your sight." 

While he yet spoke the Southrons uttered a great shout, and the 
Scots, looking up, beheld several high poles erected on the roof of the 
keep, and the Earl of ]Mar, as before, was led forward; but he seemed 
no longer the tranquil patriot. He was surrounded by female forms 
clinging to his knees, and his trembling hands were lifted to heaven. 

"Stop!" cried Wallace in a voice whose thundering mandate rang 
from tower to tower; "the instant he dies, Lord Aymer de Valence 
shall perish!" 

He had only to make the sign, and in a few minutes that noble- 
man appeared between Ramsay and Kirkpatrick. "Earl," exclaimed 
Wallace, "though I granted your life in the field with reluctance, yet 
here I am ashamed to put it in danger; but your own people compel 
me. Look on that spectacle! A father in the midst of his family; 
he and they doomed to an ignominious death, unless I betray my 
country and abandon these walls. Were I weak enough to purchase 
their live/j at such an expense, they could not survive that disgrace; 
but that they shall not die while I have power to preserve them. Life, 
then, for life; yours for this family." 

Wallace, directing his voice towards the keep: "The moment," 
cried he, "in which that vile cord presses too closely on the neck of 

Copyright by Charhs Scrihiwr's Sons 

The battle of Stirling Castle 


the Earl of Mar, or on any of his blood, the ax shall sever the head 
of Lord de Valence from his body." 

De Valence was now seen on the top of one of the besieging tow- 
ers. He was pale as death. He trembled, but not with dismay only; 
ten thousand varj^ing emotions tore his breast 

Cressingham became alarmed on seeing the menace of Wallace 
brought so directly before his view, and dreading the vengeance of 
De Valence's powerful family, he ordered a herald to say that if 
Wallace would draw off his troops to the outer ballium, and the 
English chief along with them, the Lord Mar and his family should 
be taken from their perilous situation, and he would consider terms 
of surrender. 

Aware that Cressingham only wanted to gain time until De 
Warenne should arrive, Wallace determined to foil him with his own 
weapons, and make the gaining of the castle the consequence of van- 
quishing the earl. He told the now perplexed governor that he 
should consider Lord de Valence as the hostage of safety for Lord 
Mar and his family, and therefore he consented to withdraw his men 
from the inner ballium till the setting of the sun, at which hour he 
should expect a herald with the surrender of the fortress. 

Thinking that he had caught the Scottish chief in a snare, and that 
the lord warden's army would be uj^on him long before the expira- 
tion of the armistice, Cressingham congratulated himself upon this 
maneuver, and, resolving that the moment Earl de Warenne should 
appear Lord Mar should be secretly destroyed in the dungeons, he or- 
dered him to their security again. 

Wallace fully comprehended what were his enemy's views, and 
what ought to be his own measures, as soon as he saw the unhappy 
group disappear from the battlements of the keep. He then recalled 
his men from the inner ballium wall, and stationing several detach- 
ments along the ramparts and in the towers of the outer wall, com- 
mitted De Valence to the stronghold of the barbican, under the espe- 
cial charge of Lord Ruthven. 



Having secured the advantages he had gained in the town and on 
the works of the castle, by manning all the strong places, Wallace set 
forward with his chosen troops to intercept De Warenne. 

He took his position on a commanding ground about half a mile 
from Stirling. The Forth lay before him, crossed by a wooden 
bridge, over which the enemy must pass to reach him, the river not 
being fordable in that part. 

He ordered the timbers which supported the bridge to be sawed 
at the bottom, but not displaced in the least, that they might stand 
perfectly firm for as long as he should deem it necessary. To these 
timbers were fastened strong cords, all of which he intrusted to the 
sturdiest of his Lanark men, who were to lie concealed amongst the 
flags. These preparations being made, he drew up his troops in 
order of battle. Kirkpatrick and JNIurray commanded the flanks 
In the center stood Wallace himself, with Ramsay on one side of him 
and Edwin, with Scrymgeour, on the other. 

Cressingham was not less well informed of the advance of De 
Warenne, and burning with revenge against Wallace, he first gave 
secret orders to his lieutenant, then set forth alone to seek an avenue 
of escape never divulged to any but the commanders of the fortress. 
He soon discovered it, and by the light of a torch, making his way 
through a passage bored in the rock, emerged at its western base, 
screened from sight by the surrounding bushes. He had disguised 
himself in a shepherd's bonnet and plaid, in case of being observed 
by the enemy; but fortune favored him, and unseen he crept along 
through the thickets till he descried the advance of De Warenne's 

De Warenne divided his army into three divisions, to enter Stir- 
lingshire by different routes, and so, he hoped, certainly to intercept 
Wallace in one of them. The Earl of JNIontgomery led the first, of 
twenty thousand men; the Barons Hilton and Blenkinsopp, the sec- 
ond, of ten thousand ; and De Warenne himself, the third, of thirty 

It was the first of these divisions that Cressingham encountered 



in Tor wood, and revealing himself to Montgomery, he recounted 
how rapidly Wallace had gained the town, and in what jeopardy 
the citadel would be if he were not instantly attacked. The earl ad- 
vised waiting for a junction with Hilton or the lord warden, "which," 
said he, "must happen in the course of a few hours." 

"In the course of a few hours," returned Cressingham, "you will 
have no Stirling castle to defend. The enemy will seize it at sunset, 
in pursuance of agreement. Therefore, no hesitation, if we would 
not see him lock the gates of the north of Scotland upon us." 

By arguments such as these the young earl was induced to give 
up his judgment, and, accompanied liy Cressingham, whose courage 
revived amid such a host, he proceeded to the southern bank of the 

The bands of Wallace were drawn up on the opposite shore, 
hardly five thousand strong, but so disposed the enemy could not cal- 
culate their numbers, though the narrowness of their front suggested 
to Cressingham that they could not be numerous. "It will be easy 
to surround the rebel," cried he; "and that we may effect our enter- 
prise before the arrival of the warden robs us of the honor, let us about 
it directly and cross the bridge." 

JNIontgomery proposed a herald being sent to inform Wallace, that 
besides the troops he saw, De Warenne was advancing with double 
liosts ; and if he would now surrender, a pardon should be granted to 
him and his, in the king's name, for all their late rebellions. Cres- 
singham was vehement against this measure ; but Montgomery being 
resolute, the messenger was despatched. 

In a few minutes he returned and repeated to the Southron com- 
manders the words of Wallace: "Go," said he, "tell your masters we 
came not here to treat for pardon; we came to set Scotland free. All 
negotiation is vain. Let them advance, they will find us prepared." 

"Then onward!" cried Montgomery; and, spurring his steed, he 
led the way to the bridge ; his eager soldiers followed, and the whole 
of his center ranks passed over. The flanks advanced; and the 
bridge, from end to end, was filled with archers, cavalry, men-at-arms, 
and war-carriages. Cressingham, in the midst, was hallooing in 
triumph to those who occupied the rear of the straining beams, when 
the blast of a trumpet sounded from the till now silent and immovable 
Scottish phalanx. It was reechoed by shouts from behind the pass- 
ing enemy; and in that moment the supporting piers of the bridge 
were pulled away, and the whole of its mailed throng was precipitated 
into the stream. 

The cries of the maimed and the drowning were joined by the 


terrific slogan of two bands of Scots. The one, with Wallace^ 
towards the head of the river; while the other, under the command 
of Sir John Graham, rushed from its ambuscade on the opposite 
bank upon the rear of the dismayed troops ; and both divisions sweep- 
ing all before them, drove those who fought on land into the flood. 

In the midst of this conflict, Kirkpatrick, having heard the shouts 
of Cressingham on the bridge, now sought him amidst its shattered 
timbers. With the ferocity of a tiger, he ran from man to man ; and 
as the struggling wretches emerged from the water, he plucked 
them from the surge; but even while he looked on them with impre- 
cations of disappointment, he rushed forward on his chase. Almost 
in despair that the waves had cheated his revenge, he was hurrying 
on in another direction when he perceived a body moving through 
a hollow on his right. He turned, and saw the object of his search 
crawling amongst the sedges. 

"Ha!" cried Kirkpatrick, "art thou yet mine? Villain!" cried he, 
springing upon his breast; "behold the hot cheek your dastard hand 
defiled! Thy blood shall obliterate the stain!" 

"Mercy! mercy!" cried Cressingham, struggling with preternat- 
ural strength to extricate himself. 

"No mercy for thee!" cried Kirkpatrick, and with one stroke he 
severed the head from its body. "I am a man again!" shouted he; 
"I go to show my general how proudly I am avenged!" As he spoke 
he dashed amongst the victorious ranks and reached Wallace at the 
very moment he was freeing himself from his fallen horse, which a 
random arrow had shot under him. Murray, at the same instant, 
was bringing up the wounded Montgomery, who came to surrender 
his sword and to beg quarter for his men. The earl turned deadly 
pale, for the first object that struck his sight was the fierce Knight 
of Torthorald walking with the head of Cressingham, as he held it 
exultantly in air. 

"If that be your chief," cried Montgomery, "I have mistaken 
him much; I cannot yield my sword to him." 

Murray understood him. "If cruelty be an evil spirit," returned 
he, "it has fled every breast in this army, to shelter with Sir Roger 
Kirkpatrick, and its name is Legion. That is my chief," added he, 
pointing to Wallace with an evident consciousness of deriving honor 
from his command. The chief rose from the ground, dyed in the 
same hue which had excited the abhorrence of Montgomery, though 
it had been drawn from his own veins and those of his horse. His 
eye momentarily fell on the approaching figure of Kirkpatrick, who 


blew from his bugle triumphal notes and cried to his chief, "I have 
slain the wolf! So perish all the enemies of Scotland!" 

"And with the extinction of that breath, Kirkpatrick," cried 
Wallace, looking sternly from the head to him, "let your revenge 
perish also. For your own honor commit no indignities on the 
body you have slain." 

" 'Tis for you to conquer like a god," cried Kirkpatrick. "I 
have felt as a man, and like a man I revenge." While speaking he 
disappeared amongst the ranks, and as the victorious Scots hailed him 
in passing, JNIontgomery, thinking of his perishing men, suffered 
Murray to lead him to the scene of his humility. 

The ever-comprehensive eye of Wallace perceived him as he ad- 
vanced, and guessing by his armor and dignified demeanor who he 
was, with a noble grace he raised his helmed bonnet from his head 
when the earl approached him. Montgomery looked on him; he 
felt his soul, even more than his arms, subdued; the blood mounted 
into his cheeks, and he held out his sword in silence to the victor, for 
he could not bring his tongue to pronounce the word "surrender." 

Wallace understood the sign, and holding up his hand to a herald, 
the trumpet of peace was raised. It sounded ; and where the moment 
before were the clash of arms, the yell of conquest, and cries for 
mercy, all was hushed as death. 

The voice of Wallace rose from this awful pause. "Soldiers!" 
cried he, "God has given victory, let us show our gratitude by mod- 
eration and mercy. Gather the wounded into quarters and bury the 

Wallace then turned to the extended sword of the earl; he put it 
gently back with his hand. "Ever wear what you honor," said he; 
"but, gallant Montgomery, when you draw it next, let it be in a 
better cause. Learn, brave earl, to discriminate between the de- 
fender of his country and the unprovoked ravager of other lands." 

Montgomery blushed scarlet at these words, but it was not with 
resentment. Then raising his eyes to Wallace, he said, "Were you 
not the enemy of my king, who, though a conqueror, sanctions none 
of the cruelties that have been committed in his name, I would give 
you my hand before the remnant of his brave troops whose lives you 
grant. But you have my heart, — a heart that knows no difference 
between friend or foe when the bonds of virtue unite them." 

"Had your king possessed the virtues you believe he does," replied 
Wallace, "my sword might have now been a pruning-hook. But that 
is past. We are in arms for injuries received, and to drive out a 
tyrant. To connive at cruelty is to practise it. And has Edward 


ever frowned on one of those despots who in his name have for these 
two years past laid Scotland in blood and ashes?" 

The appeal was too strong for Montgomery to answer; he felt its 
truth, and bowed, with an expression in his face that told more than 
as a subject of England he dared declare. 

The late silence was turned into the activity of eager obedience. 
The prisoners were conducted to the rear of Stirling; while the major 
part of the Scots, leaving a detachment to unburden the earth of its 
bleeding load, returned in front of the gates just as De Warenne's 
division appeared on the horizon. At this sight Wallace sent Edwin 
into the town with Lord Montgomery, and, marshaling his line, pre- 
pared to bear down upon the approaching earl. 

But the lord warden had received information which fought bet- 
ter for the Scots than a host of swords. When advanced a very little 
onward on the Carse of Stirling, one of his scouts brought intelli- 
gence that having approached the south side of the Forth, he had 
seen that river floating with dead bodies, and soon after met Southron 
soldiers in full flight, while he heard from afar the Scottish horns 
blowing the notes of victory. From what he learned from the fugi- 
tives, he also informed his lord that not only the town and citadel 
of Stirling were in the possession of Sir William Wallace, but the 
two detachments under Montgomery and Hilton had both been dis- 
comfited and their leaders slain or taken. 

At this intelligence Earl de Warenne stood aghast; and while 
he was still doubting that such disgrace to King Edward's arms could 
be possible, two or three fugitives came up and witnessed to its truth, 
adding that the Scots army was so disposed by Sir William Wallace 
as to appear inconsiderable, that he might ensnare his enemies by 
filling them with hopes of an easy conquest. 

These accounts persuaded De Warenne to make a retreat, and, 
intimidated by the representations of them who had fled, his men, 
with precipitation, turned to obey. 

Wallace perceived the retrograde motion of his enemy's lines; 
and while a stream of arrows from his archers poured upon them like 
hail, he bore down upon the rear-guard with his cavalry and men-at- 
arms, and sent Graham round by the wood to surprise the flanks. 

All was executed with promptitude; and the tremendous slogan 
sounding from side to side, the terrified Southrons now threw away 
their arms, to lighten themselves for escape. Sensible that it is not 
the number of the dead but the terror of the living which gives the 
finishing stroke to conquest, De Warenne saw the efl'ects of this 


panic in the disregard of his orders, and dreadful would have been 
the carnage of his troops had he not sounded a parley. 

The bugle of Wallace instantly answered it. De Warenne sent 
forward his herald. He offered to lay down his arms provided he 
might be exempted from relinquishing the royal standard, and that he 
and his men might be permitted to return without delay into England. 

Wallace accepted the first article, granted the second, but with 
regard to the third, it must be on condition that he, the Lord de 
Warenne, and the officers taken in his army, or in other engage- 
ments lately fought in Scotland, should be immediately exchanged 
for the like number of noble Scots Wallace should name who were 
prisoners in England; and that the common men of the army, now 
about to surrender their arms, should take an oath never to serve again 
against Scotland. 

These preliminaries being agreed to, the Lord Warden advanced 
at the head of his thirty thousand troops, and first laying down his 
sword, which Wallace immediately returned to him, the officers and 
soldiers marched by with their heads uncovered, throwning down their 
weapons as they approached their conqueror. Wallace extended his 
line while the procession moved, for he had too much policy to show 
his enemies that thirty thousand men had yielded almost without a 
blow to scarce five thousand. The privates thus disposed of, to re- 
lease himself from the commanders also, Wallace told De Warenne 
that duty called him away, but every respect would be paid to them 
by the Scottish officers. 

He then gave directions to Sir Alexander Ramsay to escort De 
Warenne and the rest of the noble prisoners to Stirling. Wallace 
himself turned with his veteran band to give a conqueror's greeting 
to the Baron of Hilton; and so ended the famous battles of Cambus- 
Kenneth and the Carse of Stirling. 



The prisoners which had been taken with Montgomery were lodged 
behind the town and the wounded carried into the abbey of Cambus- 
Kenneth ; but when Edwin came to move that earl himself, he found 
him too faint with loss of blood to sit a horse to Snawdoun. He 
therefore ordered a litter, and so conveyed his brave prisoner to that 
palace of the kings of Scotland in Stirling. 

Messengers meanwhile had arrived from Wallace acquainting his 
chieftains in Stirling with the surrender of De Warenne's army, 
hence no surprise was created in the breast of Montgomery when he 
saw his commander enter the palace as a prisoner. 

Montgomery held out his hand to the lord warden in silence and 
with a flushed cheek. 

"Blush not, my noble friend," cried De Warenne; "these wounds 
speak more eloquently than a thousand tongues the gallantry with 
which you maintained the sword that fate compelled you to surrender. 
But I, without a scratch, how can I meet the unconquered Edward? 
And yet it was not for myself I feared ; my brave and confiding sol- 
diers were in all my thoughts." 

While the English generals thus conversed, Edwin's impatient 
heart yearned to be again at the side of Wallace ; and as soon as he 
observed a cessation in the conversation of the two earls, he drew 
near Montgomery to take his leave. 

"Farewell till we meet again," said the young earl, pressing his 
hand. "You have been a brother rather than an enemy to me." 

"Because," returned Edwin, "I follow the example of my gen- 
eral, who would willingly be the friend of all mankind." 

Warenne looked at him with surprise. "And who are you who 
in that stripling form utters gallant sentiments which might grace 
the maturest years?" 

With a sweet dignity Edwin replied: "I am Edwin Ruthven, the 
adopted brother of Sir William Wallace." 

"And the son of him," asked De Warenne, "who, with Sir Wil- 
liam Wallace, was the first to mount Dumbarton walls?" 



At these words the cheeks of Edwin were suffused with a more 
animated bloom. This question of De Warenne conveyed to him 
that he had found fame himself; that he was publicly acknowledged 
to be an object not unworthy of being called the brother of Sir 
WiUiam Wallace; and, casting down his eyes, he answered, "I am 
that happy Ruthven who had the honor to mount Dumbarton rock 
by the side of my general; and from his hand there received the 
stroke of knighthood." 

De Warenne rose much agitated. "If such be the boys of Scot- 
land, need we wonder, when the spirit of resistance is roused in the 
nation, that our strength should wither before its men." 

"At least," said Montgomery, "it deprives defeat of its sting, when 
we are conscious we yielded to a power that was irresistible. But, 
my lord," added he, "if the courage of this youth amazes you, what 
will you say ought to be the crown of Sir William Wallace's career 
when you know the chain of brave hearts by which he is surrounded ! 
Even tender woman loses the weakness of her sex when she belongs 
to him." Earl de Warenne, surprised at the energy with which he 
spoke, looked at him with an expression that told him so. "Yes," 
continued he, "I witnessed the heroism of Lady Wallace when she 
defended the character of her husband in the midst of an armed host, 
and preserved the secret of his retreat inviolate. I saw that loveliest 
of women whom the dastard Heselrigge slew." 

"Disgrace to knighthood!" cried Edwin, with indignant vehe- 
mence. "If you were spectator of that bloody deed, blast not his eyes 
with a second sight of one who could have beheld his wife murdered." 

Lord Montgomery held out his hand to Edwin. "By this right 
arm I swear, noble youth, that had I been on the spot when Hesel- 
rigge lifted his sword against the breast of Lady Wallace, I would 
have sheathed my sword in his. It was before then that I saw that 
matchless woman, and, offended with my want of severity in the 
scrutiny I had made at Ellerslie, Heselrigge sent me back to Ayr. 
Arnulf quarreled with me there on the same subject, and I immedi- 
ately retired in disgust to England." 

"Then how? you ought to be Sir Gilbert Hambledon?" replied 
Edwin; "but whoever you are, as you were kind to Lady Marion, I 
cannot but regret my late hasty charge." 

Montgomery took his hand and pressed it. "Generous Ruthven, 
your warmth is too honorable to need forgiveness. I am that Sir 
Gilbert Hambledon, and had I remained so, I should not now be in 
Scotland. But in my first interview with the Prince of Wales, after 
my accession to the earldom of Montgomery, his highness told me 


it had been rumored from Scotland that I was disloyal in my heart 
to my king. 'And, to prove the falsehood of such calumniators,' con- 
tinued the prince, 'I appoint you second in command there to the 
Earl de Warenne.' To have refused to fight against Sir William 
Wallace would have been to have accused myself of treason, and with 
the same spirit you follow him to the field, I obeyed the commands 
of my sovereign." 

"Lord Montgomery," returned Edwin, 'T am rejoiced to see one 
who proves to me what my general always inculcates, that all the 
Southrons are not base and cruel. When he knows who is indeed 
his prisoner, what recollections will it awaken!" 

The brave youth then telling Ramsay in what parts of the palace 
the rest of the lords were to be lodged, descended to the court-yard, 
to take horse for Tor wood. He was galloping along under the bright 
light of the moon when he heard a squadron on full speed approach- 
ing, and presently Murray appeared at its head. "Hurrah, Edwin!" 
cried he, "well met! We come to demand the instant surrender of 
the citadel. Hilton's division has surrendered." 

The two barons had indeed come up about half an hour after Earl 
de Warenne's division was discomfited. Sir William Wallace had 
sent forward to the advancing enemy two heralds, bearing the colors 
of De Valence and Montgomery, with the captive banner of De 
Warenne, and requiring the present division to lay down its arms 
also. The nature of Hilton's position precluded retreat, and not 
seeing any reason for ten thousand men disputing the day with a 
power to whom fifty thousand had just surrendered, he and his 
compeer embraced the terms of surrender. 

The instant Hilton put his banner into the victor's hand, Wallace 
knew the castle must now be his, and impatient to apprise Lord Mar 
and his family of their safety, he despatched Murray to demand its 

JNIurray gladly obeyed, and now, accompanied by Edwin, with 
the standards of Cressingham and De Warenne trailing in the dust, 
he arrived before the castle and summoned the lieutenant to the 
walls. But that officer, well aware of what was going to happen, 
feared to appear. From the battlements of the keep he had seen 
the dreadful conflict on the banks of the Forth ; he had seen the thou- 
sands of De Warenne pass before the conqueror. To punish his 
treachery, in not only having suffered Cressingham to steal out under 
the armistice, but upholding also the breaking of his word to surrender 
at sunset, the terrified officer beheved that Wallace was now come to 
put the whole garrison to the sword. 


At the first sight of Murray's approaching squadron the lieu- 
tenant hurried to Lord INIar, to offer him immediate Hberty if he 
would go forth to Wallace and treat with him to spare the lives of 
the garrison. Closed up in a solitary dungeon, the earl knew nought 
of what was occurring without, and when the Southron entered, he 
expected it was to lead him again to the death which had been twice 
averted. But the trembling lieutenant had no sooner spoken the 
first word than Mar discerned it was a suppliant, not an executioner, 
he saw before him, and he was even promising clemencj^ from Wallace 
when Murray's trumpet sounded. 

The lieutenant started, horror-struck. "It is now too late! There 
sounds the death-bell of this garrison. I saved your life, earl," cried 
he, imploringly, to Lord Mar. "When the enraged Cressingham 
commanded me to pull the cord which would have launched you into 
eternity, I disobeyed him. For my sake, then, preserve this garrison, 
and accompany me to the ramparts." 

The chains were immediately knocked off the limbs of Mar, and 
the lieutenant presenting him with a sword, they appeared together 
on the battlements. As the declining moon shone on their backs, 
Murray did not discern that it was his uncle who mounted the wall, 
but calling to him in a voice which declared there was no appeal, he 
pointed to the colors of Edward, and demanded the surrender of the 

"Let it be, then, with the pledge of Sir William Wallace's mercy?'* 
cried the venerable earl. 

"With every pledge. Lord Mar," returned Murray, now joyfully 
recognizing his uncle, "which you think safe to give." 

"Then the keys of the citadel are yours," cried the lieutenant; 
"I only ask the lives of my garrison." 

This was granted, and immediate preparations were made for 
the admission of the Scots. As the enraptured Edwin heard the heavy 
chains of the portcullis drawing up, and the massy bolts of the huge 
doors grating in their guards, he thought of his mother's liberty, of 
his father's joy in pressing her again in his arms, and hastening to 
the tower where Lord Ruthven held watch over the now sleeping 
De Valence, he told him all that had happened. "Go, my father," 
added he; "enter with Murray, and be the first to open the prison 
doors of my mother." 

Lord Ruthven embraced his son. "My dear Edwin, I have a 
duty to perform superior even to the tenderest private ones. I am 
planted here by my commander and shall I quit my station? No, 
my son; be you my representative to your mother." 


Edwin no longer urged his fatlier, and flew to the gate of the 
inner ballium. It was open, and INIurray already stood on the plat- 
form before the keep, receiving the keys of the garrison. 

"Blessed sight!" cried Lord Mar to his nephew. "When I put 
our banner into your unpractised hand, little could I expect that 
in the course of four months I should see you receive the keys of 
proud Stirling from its commander." 

Murray smiled in gratitude to his uncle, and, turning to the lieu- 
tenant, "Now," said he, "lead me to the Ladies Mar and Ruthven, 
that I may assure them they are free." 

The gates of the keep were now unclosed, and the lieutenant 
conducted his victors along a gloomy passage to a low door studded 
with knobs of iron. As he drew the bolt, he whispered to Lord Mar, 
"These severities are the hard policy of Governor Cressingham." 

He pushed the door slowly open and discovered a small, miserable 
cell, its walls of rugged stone. On the ground on a pallet of straw 
lay a female figure in a profound sleep. But the light which the 
lieutenant held, streaming full upon the slumberer, she started, and 
with a shriek of terror at sight of so many armed men, discovered 
the pallid features of the Countess of INIar. With anguish the earl 
rushed forward, and, throwing himself beside her, caught her in his 

"Are we, then, to die?" cried she, in a voice of horror. "Has 
Wallace abandoned us? Are we to perish?" 

Overcome by his emotions, the earl could only strain her to his 
breast. Edwin saw a picture of his mother's sufferings in the present 
distraction of the countess, and he felt his powers of utterance locked 
up; but Lord Andrew, whose heart was ever ga}^ jocosely answered, 
"]My fair aunt, there are many hearts to die by your eyes before that 
dav, and, meanwhile, I come from Sir William Wallace — to set vou 

The name of Wallace drove every thought of death and misery 
from her mind; she saw not her prison walls; she felt herself again 
in his presence, and in a blissful trance endured the congratulations 
of her hushand on their mutual safety. 

Edwin and JNIurray turned to follow the lieutenant, who, preceding 
them, stopped at the end of the gallery. "Here," said he, "is Lady 
Ruthven's habitation, and, alas! not better than the countess's." 
While he spoke he threw open the door and discovered its sad inmate, 
also asleep. But when the glad voice of her son pierced her ear, 
when his fond embraces clung to her bosom, her surprise and emotions 
were almost insupportable. Hardly crediting her senses, that he 


whom she had believed was safe in the cloisters of St. Coliimba could 
be within the dangerous walls of Stirling; that it was his voice she 
heard exclaiming, "Mother, we come to give you freedom!" all ap- 
peared to her like a dream. 

She listened, she found her cheek wet with his tears. "Am I in 
my right mind?" cried she, looking at him with a fearful, yet over- 
joyed countenance. "Am I not mad? Oh! tell me," cried she, turn- 
ing to Murray and the lieutenant, "is this my son that I see, or has 
terror turned my brain?" 

"It is indeed your son, your Edwin," returned he, alarmed at the 
expression of her countenance. Murray advanced, and, kneeling 
down by her, respectfully took her hand. "He speaks truth, my dear 
madam. It is your son Edwin. He left his convent to be a volunteer 
with Sir William Wallace. He covered himself with honor on the 
walls of Dumbarton, and here, also, a sharer in his leader's victories, 
he is come to set you free." 

At this explanation Lady Ruthven gave way to the happiness 
of her soul, and falling on the neck of her son, embraced him. "And 
thy father, Edwin, where is he? Did not the noble Wallace rescue 
him from Ayr?" 

"He did, and he is here." Edwin then repeated to his mother 
the message of his father and the particulars of his release. Per- 
ceiving how happily they were engaged, IMurray, now with a flutter 
in his own bosom, rose from his knees and requested the lieutenant 
to conduct him to Lady Helen Mar. 

His guide led the way by a winding staircase into a stone gallery, 
where, letting Lord Andrew into a spacious apartment, divided in 
the midst by a vast screen of carved cedai-wood, he pointed to a 
curtained entrance. "In that chamber," said he, "lodges the Lady 

While he spoke the lieutenant bowed in silence, and Murray 
entered alone. The chamber was magnificent, and illumined by a 
lamp which hung from the ceiling. He cautiously approached the 
bed, and gently pulling aside the curtain, beheld vacancy. An ex- 
clamation of alarm had almost escaped him, when, observing a half- 
open door at the other side of the apartment, he there beheld his 
cousin, with her back to him, kneeling before a crucifix. She spoke 
not, but the fervor of her action manifested how earnestly she prayed. 

"Thou blessed angel!" cried Murray, throwing himself towards 
her. She started from her knees, and with a cry Helen threw herself 
on the bosom of her cousin. "My father? All are safe?" demanded 
she. "All, my best beloved!" answered Murray, forgetting, in the 


powerful emotions of his heart, that what he felt, and what he uttered, 
were beyond even a cousin's limits; "my uncle, the countess, Lord and 
Lady Ruthven; all are safe." 

"And Sir William Wallace?" cried she; "you do not mention hhn. 
I hope no ill " 

"He is conqueror here," interrupted Murray. "He has subdued 
every obstacle between Berwick and Stirling, and he has sent me 
hither to set you and the rest of the dear prisoners free." 

Helen's heart throbbed with a new tumult as he spoke. She 
longed to ask whether the unknown knight from whom she had parted 
in the hermit's cell had ever joined Sir William Wallace. She yearned 
to know that he yet lived: and with a hope she dared hardly whisper 
to herself of seeing him in the gallant train of the conqueror, she 
falteringly said, "Now, Andrew, lead me to my father." 

JNIurray would, perhaps, have required a second bidding had not 
Lord Mar, impatient to see his daughter, appeared with the countess 
at the door of the apartment. Hastening towards them, Helen fell 
on the bosom of her father. 

Lady Mar gazed with a frown on her lovely form. "Wallace 
will behold these charms!" cried her distracted spirit to herself, "and 
then where am I?" 

While her thoughts thus followed each other, she darted looks 
on Helen, which, if an evil eye had any witching power, would have 
withered all her beauties. At one of these moments the eyes of Helen 
met her glance; she started with horror. It made her remember how 
she had been betrayed, and all that she had suffered from Soulis. 
But she could not forget that she had also been rescued, and with 
that blessed recollection, the image of her preserver rose before her. 
At this gentle idea, her countenance took a softer expression, and, 
she turned to her father's question of "How she came to be with Lady 
Ruthven, when he had been taught by Lord Andrew to beheve her 
safe at St. Fillan's?" 

"Yes," cried Murray, throwing himself on a seat beside her, "I 
found in your letter to Sir William Wallace that you had been be- 
trayed from your asylum by some traitor Scot, and but for my joy 
at our present meeting, I should have inquired the name of the villain." 

Lady Mar felt a deadly sickness at her heart on hearing that Wal- 
lace was already so far acquainted with her daughter as to have 
received a letter from her: and in despair, she prepared to hsten to 
what she expected would bring a death-stroke to her hopes. They 
had met — but how? where? They wrote to each other! Then far 
indeed had proceeded that communication of hearts which was now 


the aim of her life — and she was undone. Helen glanced at the face 
of Lady Mar, and observing its changes, regarded them as corrobora- 
tions of her having been the betraj'^er. "If conscience disturbs you 
thus," thought Helen, "let it rend your heart, and perhaps remorse 
may follow." 

Helen no longer feared that her cousin would seek vengeance 
on the traitor Soulis, when he might soon have an opportunity of 
making it certain at the head of an army; she therefore commenced 
her narrative from the time of Murray's leaving her at the priory, 
and continued it to the hour in which she had met her father a prisoner 
in the streets of Stirling. As she proceeded, the indignation of the 
earl and of Murray against Soulis became vehement. The nephew 
was full of immediate personal revenge, but the father, with argu- 
ments similar to those which had suggested themselves to his daughter, 
calmed the lover's rage. 

The conscience of Lady Mar did indeed vary her cheeks with a 
thousand dyes, when, as Helen repeated part of her conversation 
with Macgregor's wife, Murray abruptly said, "Surely that woman 
could name the traitor who betrayed us to our enemies. Did she not 
hint it?" 

Helen cast down her eyes, that even a glance might not overwhelm 
with shame the already trembling countess. Lady Mar saw that she 
was acquainted with her guilt; and expecting no more mercy than 
she knew she would show to Helen in the like circumstances, she 
hastily rose from her chair, internally vowing vengeance against her 
triumphant daughter. 

While all the furies raged in the breast of the guilty woman 
Helen simply answered, "Lord Soulis would be weak, as he is vile, 
to trust a secret of that kind with a servant"; then hurried on to 
the relation of subsequent events. The countess breathed again; 
and, almost deceiving herself with the idea that Helen was ignorant 
of her treachery, listened with emotions of another kind when she 
heard of the rescue of her daughter-in-law. She saw Wallace in 
that brave act. But as Helen never named the graces of his person. 
Lady Mar thought that to have viewed Wallace with so little notice 
would have been impossible, and therefore was glad of such a double 
conviction that he and her daughter had never met, which seemed 
verified when Helen said that the unknown chief had promised to 
join his arms with those of Wallace. 

Murray had observed Helen while she spoke with an impression 
at his heart that made it pause. Something in this interview had 
whispered to him what he had never dreamt before, that she was 


dearer to him than fifty thousand cousins. And while the blood 
flushed and retreated in the complexion of Helen, and she hastily 
ran over the circumstances of her acquaintance with the stranger 
knight, Murray's own emotions declared the secret of hers, and with 
a lip as pale as her own, he said, "But where is this brave man? He 
cannot have yet joined us; for surely he would have told Wallace or 
myself that he came from you?" 

"I warned him not to do so," replied she, "for fear that your 
indignation against my enemies, my dear cousin, might have precipi- 
tated you into dangers to be incurred for our country only." 

"Then if he have joined us," replied Murray, rising from his seat, 
"you will probably soon know who he is. To-morrow morning Sir 
William Wallace will enter the citadel, attended by his principal 
knights; and in that gallant company you must doubtless discover 
the man who has laid such obligations on us all." 

In reciting the narrative of her late sufferings to her father, when 
Helen came to the mentioning of the stranger's conduct to her, she 
felt her growing emotions as she drew near the subject, and could 
only excuse herself for such perturbation by supposing that the 
treason of Lady Mar now excited her alarm with fear she should 
fix it on a new object. She hastily passed from the theme to speak 
of De Valence, and the respect with which he had treated her during 
her imprisonment. His courtesy had professed to deny nothing to 
her wishes except her personal liberty and any conference with her 
parents or aunt. Her father's life, he declared, was altogether out 
of his power to grant. He might suspend the sentence, but he could 
not abrogate it. 

"Yes," cried the earl, "though false and inflexible, I must not 
accuse him of having been so barbarous in his tyranny as Cressing- 
ham. For it was not until De Valence was taken prisoner that Joanna 
and I were divided. Till then we were lodged in decent apartments, 
but on that event Cressingham tore us from each other and threw 
us into difl'erent dungeons." 

During part of this conversation Murray withdrew, to bring Lady 
Ruthven and her son to share the joy of full domestic reunion. The 
happy Edwin and his mother having embraced these dear relatives, 
accompanied Murray to the door of the barbican which contained 
Lord Ruthven. They entered on the wings of love, but the for once 
pensive Lord Andrew, with a musing step, returned into the castle 
to see that all was safely disposed for the remainder of the night. 



At noon next day Murray received a message from Wallace desiring 
him to acquaint the Earl of ^lar that he was coming to the citadel. 

Each member of the family hastened to prepare for the inter- 
view: Lady Mar, well satisfied that Helen and Wallace had never 
met, and clinging to the vague words of Murray, that he had sent 
to give her liberty, called forth every art of the tiring-room to 
embellish her still fine person. Lady Ruthven, eager to see the man 
who had so often been the preserver of her brother, and who had so 
lately delivered her husband, was the first who joined the earl in the 
gallery. Lady Mar soon after entered like Juno in all her plumage 
of majesty and beauty. 

But the trumpet of Wallace had sounded in the gates before the 
trembling Helen could leave her apartment. It was the herald of 
his approach, and she sank breathless into a seat. He whom she 
had mourned as one stricken in sorrow, and feared for as an outlaw 
doomed to suffering and to death, was now to appear before her. 
Awful as this picture was to the timidity of her gentle nature, it 
alone did not occasion that inexpressible sensation which seemed to 
check the pulses of her heart. Was she, or was she not, to recognize 
m his train the young and noble Bruce? Or by seeking him every- 
where in vain, ascertain that he had perished lonely and unknown? 

While these ideas thronged her mind, the platform below was 
filling with the triumphant Scots, and her door suddenly opening, 
Edwin entered in delighted haste. "Come, cousin," cried he; "Sir 
William Wallace has almost finished bis business in the great hall. 
He has made my uncle governor of this place, and has committed 
nearly a thousand prisoners of rank to his care. If you be not ex- 
peditious, you will allow him to enter the gallery before you." 

Hardly observing her face from the emotions which dazzled his 
own eyes, he seized her hand and hurried her to the gallery. 

Only her aunt and stepmother were as yet there. Lady Ruthven 
sat cornposedly on a tapestried bench, awaiting the arrival of the 
company, but Lady Mar was near the door, listening impatiently 
to the voices beneath. At sight of Helen she drew back, but she 



smiled exultingly when she saw that all the beauty she had so lately 
beheld was flown. Her unadorned garments gave no particular at- 
traction to the simple lines of her form, the effulgence of her 
complexion was gone, her cheek was pale, and the tremulous motion 
of her step deprived her of the grace which was usuallj^ the charm 
of her figure. 

Triumph now sat in the eyes of the countess, and with an air 
of authority she waved Helen to take a seat beside Lady Ruthven. 
But Helen, fearful of what might be her emotion when the train 
should enter, had just placed herself behind her aunt when the steps 
of many a mailed foot sounded upon the oaken floor of the outward 
gallery. The next moment the great doors of the huge screen opened, 
and a crowd of knights in armor flashed upon her eyes. A strange 
dimness overspread her faculties, and nothing appeared to her but 
an indistinct throng approaching. She would have given worlds to 
have been removed from the spot, but was unable to stir; and on 
recovering her senses she beheld Lady ]Mar leaning on the bosom 
of one of the chiefs whose head was bent as if answering her in a 
low voice. By the golden locks which hung down upon the jeweled 
tresses of the countess and obscured his face, she judged it must indeed, 
be the deliverer of her father, the knight of her dream. But where 
was he who had delivered herself from a worse fate than death? 

Helen with a timid and anxious gaze glanced from face to face 
of the chieftains around; but all were strange. Then Avithdrawing 
her eyes with a conviction that their search was in vain, in the very 
moment of that despair they were arrested by a glimpse of the 
features of Wallace. He had raised his head, he shook back his clus- 
tering hair, and her secret was revealed. In that god-like countenance 
she recognized the object of her devoted wishes, and with a gasp of 
surprise she must have fallen from her seat had not Lady Ruthven, 
hearing a sound like the sigh of death, turned round and caught her 
in her arms. The cry of her aunt drew every eye to the spot. Wal- 
lace immediately relinquished the countess to her husband, and moved 
towards the senseless form that lay on the bosom of Lady Ruthven. 
The earl and his agitated wife followed. 

"What ails my Helen?" asked the affectionate father. 

"I know not," replied his sister; "she sat behind me, and I knew 
nothing of her disorder till she fell as you see." 

Murray instantly supposed that she had discovered the unknown 
knight; and looking from countenance to countenance amongst the 
train, to try if he could discern the envied cause of such emotions, 
he read in no face an answering feeling with that of Helen's. Wal- 


lace, who, in the form before him, saw not only the woman whom he 
had preserved with a brother's care, but the saint who had given a 
hallowed grave to the remains of an angel pure as herself, now hung 
over her with an anxiety so eloquent in every feature, that the countess 
would willingly at that moment have stabbed her in every vein. 

Lady Ruthven had sprinkled her niece with water, and so she 
began to revive; Wallace motioned to his chieftains to withdraw. 
Her eyes opened slowly; but recollection returning, and fearful of 
again encountering that face which declared the Bruce of her medita- 
tions and the Wallace of her veneration were one, she buried her 
blushes in the bosom of her father. 

Trembling at what might be the consequences of this scene, Lady 
Mar determined to hint to Wallace that Helen loved some unknown 
knight; and bending to her daughter, said in a low voice, yet loud 
enough for him to hear, "Retire, my child; you will be better in your 
own room, whether pleasure or disappointment about the person you 
wished to discover in Sir William's train have occasioned these 

Helen recovered herself at this remark, and raising her head with 
that dignity which only belongs to the purest mind, gently said, "I 
obey you, madam; and he whom I have seen will be too generous 
not to pardon the effects of so unexpected a weight of gratitude." 
As she spoke her eye met the fixed gaze of Wallace. His countenance 
became agitated, and dropping on his knee beside her, "Gracious 
lady," cried he, "mine is the weight of gratitude; but it is dear and 
precious to me; a debt that my life wiU not be able to repay." He 
pressed her hand fervently between his, and, rising, left the room. 

Lady Mar gazed on Helen without understanding the meaning 
of her looks. Judging from her own impassioned feelings, she could 
only resolve the resplendent beauty which shone from the now ani- 
mated face and form of Helen into the rapture of finding herself be- 
loved. Had she not heard Wallace declare himself to be the unknown 
knight who had rescued her? She had heard him devote his life to her, 
and was not his heart included in that dedication? 

Murray, too, was confounded, but his reflections were far different 
from those of Lady Mar. He saw his newly-discerned passion 
smothered in its first breath. At the moment in which he found 
that he loved his cousin above all women, a voice in his bosom bade 
him crush every fond desire. That heart, which had throbbed so 
entrancingly against his, was become the captive of Wallace's virtues 
— of the only man who his judgment would have said deserved Helen 
Mar. "Loveliest of created beings," thought he, looking on Helen 


with an expression which, had she met it, would have told her all 
that was passing in his soul, "if I am not to be thy love, I will be 
thy friend, and live for thee and Wallace!" 

Believing that she had read her sentence in what she thought 
the glances of a happy passion, Lady Mar turned from her daughter- 
in-law with such a hatred kindling in her heart she durst not trust 
her eyes to the inspection of the bystanders. But her tongue could 
not be restrained beyond the moment in which the object of her 
jealousy left the room. As the door closed upon Helen, who retired 
leaning on the arms of her aunt and Edwin, the countess turned 
to her lord and with a bitter smile, she said, "So, my lord, you find 
the icy bosom of your Helen can be thawed!" 

"How do you mean, Joanna?" returned the earl, doubting her 
words and looks; "you surely cannot blame our daughter for being 
sensible of gratitude." 

"I blame all young women," replied she, "who give themselves 
airs of unnatural coldness, and then, when the proof comes, behave 
in a manner so extraordinary." 

"My Lady Mar!" ejaculated the earl with an amazed look, "what 
am I to think of you from this? How has my daughter behaved 
indehcately? Have a care, madam, that I do not see more in this 
spleen than would be honorable to you !" 

Fearing nothing so much as that her husband should really suspect 
her passion, she presently recalled her former duplicity, and with a 
surprised air, replied, "I do not understand what you mean, Donald." 
Then turning to Lord Ruthven, who stood uneasily viewing this 
scene, "How," cried she, "can my lord discover spleen in my anxiety 
respecting the daughter of the husband I honor above all the earth? 
Any woman would say with me that to faint at the sight of Sir 
William Wallace was declaring an emotion not to be revealed before 
so large a company." 

"It only declared surprise, madam," cried Murray, — "the sur- 
prise of an ingenuous mind that did not expect to recognize its moun- 
tain friend in the person of the protector of Scotland." 

Lady Mar put up her lip, and turning to the still silent Lord 
Ruthven, again addressed him. "Stepmothers, my lord," said she, 
"have hard duties to perform; and when we think we fulfil them 
best, our suspicious hus})and turns all our good to evil." 

"Array your good in a less equivocal garb, my dear Joanna," 
answered the Earl of Mar; "judge my child by her usual conduct, 
and I shall ever be grateful for your solicitude. But in this instance. 


though she might betray the weakness of an enfeebled constitution, 
it was certainly not the frailty of a love-sick heart." 

"Judge me by your own rule, dear Donald," cried his wife, kissing 
his forehead, "and you will not again wither the mother of your boy 
with such a look as I just now received." 

Glad to see this reconciliation, Lord Ruthven made a sign to 
Murray, and they withdrew together. 

Meanwhile the honest earl, surrendering his whole heart to the 
wiles of his wife, poured into her ear all his wishes for Helen; all 
the hopes to which her late meeting with Wallace, and their present 
recognition, had given birth. "I had rather have that man my son," 
said he, "than see my beloved daughter placed on an imperial throne." 

"I do not doubt it," thought Lady Mar; "for there are many 
emperors, but only one William Wallace." However, her sentiments 
she confined to herself, neither assenting nor dissenting, but answering 
so as to secure his confidence. 

According to the inconsistency of the passion that possessed her, 
one moment she saw nothing but despair before her, and in the next 
it seemed impossible that Wallace should in heart be proof against 
her charms. She remembered Murray's words, that he was sent 
to set her free, and that recollection reawakened every hope. Sir 
William had placed Lord Mar in a post as dangerous as honorable. 
Should the Southrons return in any force into Scotland, Stirling 
must be one of the first places they would attack. The earl was 
brave, but his wounds had robbed him of much of his martial \\gov; 
might she not then be indeed set free? and might not Wallace, on 
such an event, mean to seek her hand? 

These wicked meditations passed even at the side of her husband, 
and she determined to spare no exertion to secure the support of 
her own family, which was the most powerful of any in the kingdom. 
Her father, the Earl of Strathearn, was now a recluse in the Orkneys, 
she therefore did not calculate on his assistance ; but she resolved on 
requesting Wallace to put the names of her cousins, Athol and 
Badenoch, into the exchange of prisoners, for by their means she 
expected to accomplish all she hoped. 

She recollected that Wallace had not this time thrown her from 
his bosom, when she cast herself upon it; he only whispered, "Beware, 
lady! there are those present who may think my services too richly 
paid." With these words he had relinquished her to her husband, 
but in them she saw nothing inimical to her wishes. 

Eager, therefore, to break away from Lord Mar's projects relat- 
ing to his daughter, at the first decent opportunity she said, "We 


will consider more of this, Donald. I now resign you to the duties 
of your office, and shall pay mine to her whose interest is our own." 

Lord Mar pressed her hand to his lips, and they parted. 

Prior to Wallace's visit to the citadel, which was to be at an early 
hour the same morning, a list of the noble prisoners was put into his 
hand. Edwin pointed to the name of Lord Montgomery. "That," 
said he, "is the name of a person you already esteem; but how will 
you regard him when I tell you who he was?" 

Wallace turned on him an inquiring look. 

"You have often spoken to me of Sir Gilbert Hambledon " 

"And this is he!" interrupted Wallace. 

Edwin recounted the manner of the earl discovering himself, and 
how he came to bear that title. Wallace listened in silence, and when 
his young friend ended, sighed heavily. "I will thank him," was all 
he said, and rising, he proceeded to the chamber of Montgomery. 
Even at that early hour it was filled with his officers, come to inquire 
after their late commander's health. Wallace advanced to the couch, 
and the Southrons drew back. The expression in his countenance 
told the earl that he now knew him. 

"Noblest of Englishmen!" cried Wallace in a low voice, "I come 
to express a gratitude to you as lasting as the memory of the action 
which gave it birth. Your generous conduct to all that was dearest 
to me on earth was that night in the garden of Ellerslie witnessed 
by myself. I was in the tree above your head, and nothing but a 
conviction that I should embarrass the honor of my wife's protector 
could at that moment have prevented my springing from my covert 
and declaring my gratitude on the spot. 

"Receive my thanks now, inadequate as they are to express what 
I feel. But you offered me your heart on the field of Cambus-Ken- 
neth. I will take that as a generous intimation how I may best 
acknowledge my debt." 

The answer of Montgomery could not but refer to the same sub- 
ject, and by presenting the tender form of his wife almost visibly 
again before her widowed husband, nearly forced open the fountain 
of tears which he had buried deep in his heart, and rising suddenly 
for fear his emotions might betray themselves, he warmly pressed the 
hand of his English friend and left the room. 

In the course of the same day the Southron nobles were trans- 
ported into the citadel, and the family of ]Mar removed from the 
fortress, to take up their residence in the palace of Snawdoun. 



The fame of these victories, the seizure of Stirling, the conquest of 
above sixty thousand men, and the lord warden with his late deputy- 
taken prisoners, — all spread through the country on the wings of the 

Messengers were despatched by Wallace, not only to the nobles 
who had already declared for the cause by sending him their armed 
followers, but to the clans who yet stood irresolute. To the chiefs 
who had taken the side of Edward he sent no exhortation. And 
when Lord Ruthven advised him to do so, "No, my lord," said he; 
"we must not spread a snare under our feet. If these men could be 
affected by the interest of their country, they would not have col- 
leagued with her enemies. All honest minds will come to us of them- 
selves; and those who are not so had better be avoided than shown 
the way by which treachery may affect what open violence cannot 

This reasoning, drawn from the experience of nature, was evident 
to every honest understanding, and decided the question. 

Lady Mar, unknown to any one, again applied to her fatal pen, 
but with other views than for the ruin of the cause or the destruction 
of Wallace. It was to strengthen his hands with the power of all 
her kinsmen; and finally, by the crown which they should place on 
his head, exalt her to the dignity of a queen. She wrote first to John 
Cummin, Earl of Buchan, enforcing a thousand reasons why he 
should now leave a sinking cause and join the rising fortunes of his 

"You see," said she, "that the happy star of Edward is setting. 
The proud barons of England are ready to revolt; and the Lords 
Hereford and Norfolk are now conducting themselves with such domi- 
neering consequence, that even the Prince of Wales submits to their 
directions ; and the throne of the absent tyrant is shaken to its center. 

"Sir William Wallace has rescued Scotland from his yoke. The 
country now calls for her ancient lords, those who made her kings 
and supported them. Come, then, my cousin! espouse the cause that 
may aggrandize the House of Cummin with still higher dignities 
than any with which it has hitherto been blazoned." 



With these arguments she tried to bring him to her purpose and 
to awaken what ambition he possessed. She despatched her letter 
by a messenger whom she bribed to secrecy, and added in her post- 
script that the "answer she should hope to receive would be an offer 
of his services to Sir William Wallace." 

While the Countess of Mar was devising her plans the despatches 
of Wallace had taken effect. Their simple details, and the voice of 
fame, had roused a general spirit throughout the land, and in the 
course of a short time after the different messengers had left Stirling 
the plain around the city was covered with a mixed multitude. All 
Scotland seemed pressing to throw itself at the feet of its preserver. 

Neil Campbell, the brave Lord of Loch-awe, and Lord Bothwell, 
the father of Lord Andrew INIurray, with a strong reenforcement, 
arrived from Argyleshire. The chiefs of Ross, Dundas, Gordon, 
Lockhart, Logan, Elphinstone, Scott, Erskine, Lindsay, Cameron, 
and of almost every noble family in Scotland, sent their sons at the 
head of detachments from their clans to swell the victorious ranks 
of Sir William Wallace, 

When this host assembled on the Carse of Stirling, every inmate 
of the city turned out to view the glorious sight. IVIounted on a 
rising ground, they saw each little army, and the emblazoned banners 
of all the chivalry of Scotland floating afar over the lengthened ranks. 

At this moment the lines which guarded the outworks of Stirling 
opened from right to left and discovered Wallace advancing on a 
white charger. When the conqueror of Edward's hosts appeared, 
the deliverer of Scotland, a mighty shout from the thousands around 
rent the skies and shook the earth on which they stood. 

Wallace raised his helmet from his brow as by an instinctive 
motion every hand bent the sword or banner it contained. 

"He comes in the strength of David," cried the venerable Bishop 
of Dunkeld, who appeared at the head of his church's tenantry. 
"Scots, behold the Lord's anointed!" 

The exclamation which burst like inspiration from the hps of 
the bishop struck to every heart. "Long live our William the Lion! 
our Scottish King!" was echoed with transport by every follower on 
the ground, and the lords themselves joined in the glorious cry. 
Galloping up from the front of their ranks they threw themselves 
from their steeds, and before Wallace could recover from the surprise 
into which this unexpected salutation had thrown him, Lord Bothwell 
and Lord Loch-awe, followed by the rest, had bent their knees and 
acknowledged him to be their sovereign. The Bishop of Dunkeld, 
at the same moment drawing from his breast a silver dove of sacred 


oil, poured it upon the imbonneted head of Wallace. "Thus, O king!" 
cried he, "do I consecrate on earth what has already received the 
unction of Heaven." 

Wallace at this action was awestruck and looking on the bishop, 
"Holy Father," said he, "this unction may have prepared my brows 
for a crown; but it is not of this world, and Divine Mercy must bestow 
it. Rise, lords!" and as he spoke he flung himself off his horse, and, 
taking Lord Bothwell by the hand, as the eldest of the band, "kneel 
not to me," cried he. "I cannot assume the scepter you would bestow, 
for He who rules us all has yet preserved to you a lawful monarch. 
Bruce lives. And were he extinct the blood-royal flows in too many 
noble veins in Scotland for me to usurp its rights." 

"The rights of the crown lie with the only man in Scotland who 
knows how to defend them. Baliol has abdicated our throne; the 
Bruce desert it; all our nobles slept till you awoke; and shall we 
bow to men who may follow, but will not lead ? No, bravest Wallace, 
from the moment you drew the first sword for Scotland you made 
yourself her lawful king." 

Wallace turned to the veteran Lord of Loch-awe, who uttered 
these words with a blunt determination that meant to say, the election 
which had passed should not be recalled. "I made myself her cham- 
pion, to fight for her freedom, not my own aggrandizement. Were 
I to accept the honor with which this grateful nation would repay 
my service, I should not bring it that peace for which I contend. The 
circumstance of a man from the private stations of life being elevated 
to such dignity would be felt as an insult by every royal house, and 
foes and friends would arm against us. As your general I may serve 
you gloriously; as your monarch, in spite of myself, I should incur 
your ultimate destruction." 

"From whom, noblest of Scots?" asked the Lord of Bothwell. 

"From yourselves, my friends," answered Wallace, with a gentle 
smile. "Could I take advantage of the generous enthusiasm of a 
grateful nation; could I forget the duty I owe to the blood of our 
Alexanders, and leap into the throne, — there are many who would 
soon revolt against their own election.^ Jealousies and rebellions 
would mark my reign, till even my closest adherents, seeing the 
miseries of civil war, would fall from my side and leave the country 
again open to the inroads of her enemies. 

"These, my friends and countrymen, would be my reasons for 
rejecting the crown did my ambition point that way. But as I have 
no joys in titles, let my reign be in your hearts; and with the appella- 
tion of your fellow-soldier, your friend, I will fight for you, I will 
conquer for you — I will live or die!" 


"This man," whispered Lord Buchan, who, having arrived in the 
rear of the troops on the appearance of Wallace, advanced within 
hearing, — "this man shows more cunning in repulsing a crown than 
most are capable of exerting to obtain one." 

"Aye, but let us see," returned the Earl of March, who slccom- 
panied him, "whether it be not Csesar's coyness; he thrice refused 
the purple, and yet he died Emperor of the Romans." 

"He that offers me a crown," returned Buchan, "shall never catch 
me playing the coquet with its charms." A shout rent the air. "What 
is that?" cried he, interrupting himself. 

"He has followed your advice," answered March, with a satirical 
smile; "it is the preliminary trumpet to 'Long live King William the 
Great !' Onward, my gallant Cospatrick, to make our bow to royalty 
in masquerade." 

When these scorners approached they found Wallace standing 
uncovered in the midst of his happy nobles. There was not a man 
present to whom he had not given proofs of his divine commission; 
each individual was snatched from a state of oppression and placed in 
security and honor. With overflowing gratitude, they all thronged 
around him, and the young, the isolated Wallace, found a nation wait- 
ing on his nod; the hearts of half a million of people offered to his 
hand. No crown sat on his brows ; but the halo of true glory beamed 
from his countenance. It even checked the arrogant smiles with which 
the haughty March and the voluptuous Buchan came forward to mock 
him with their homage. 

As the near relations of Lady Mar, he received them with courtesy ; 
but one glance of his eye penetrated to the hollowness of both, and 
then remounting his steed, the stirrups of which were held by Edwin 
and Ker, he touched the head of the former with his hand. "Follow 
me, my friend ; I now go to pay my duty to your mother. For you, 
my lords," said he, turning to the nobles around, "I shall hope to meet 
you at noon in the citadel, where we must consult together on further 
'prompt movements. Nothing with us can be considered as won till 
all is gained." 

The chieftains, with bows, acquiesced in his mandate, and fell 
back towards their troops. But the foremost ranks of those brave 
fellows, having heard much of what had passed, were so inflamed 
with admiration of their Commander, who had sworn to be their 
Regent that they rushed forward, and collecting in crowds around 
his horse and in his path, some pressed to kiss his hand, and others 
his garments, while the rest ran in his way, calhng down blessings 
upon him, till he stopped at the gate of Snawdoun. 



Owing to the multiplicity of affairs which engaged Wallace's atten- 
tion after the capture of Stirling, the ladies of Mar had not seen 
him since his first visit to the citadel. The countess passed this time 
in writing her despatches to the numerous lords of her house, both 
in Scotland and in England, and by her arguments she completely 
persuaded her husband to put the names of Lord Athol and Lord 
Badenoch into the list of noble prisoners he should request. 

When this was proposed to Wallace he recollected the conduct of 
Athol at ^lontrose; and made some objections against inviting him 
back into the country. But the earl, who was prepared by his wife 
to overcome every obstacle in the way of her kinsman's return, an- 
swered that he believed that their treason was more against Baliol 
than the kingdom, and that he understood they would now be glad 
to take a part in its recovery. 

"That may be the case with the Earl of Badenoch," replied Wal- 
lace, "but something less friendly to Scotland must be in the breast 
of the man who could betray Lord Douglas into the hands of his 

"So I should have thought," replied the earl, "had not the earnest- 
ness with which my wife pleads his cause convinced me she knows 
more of his mind than she chooses to intrust me with." 

Though these explanations did not at all raise the absent lords in 
his esteem, yet to appear hostile to the return of Lady Mar's rela- 
tions would be a violence to her. He was therefore not displeased 
to have this opportunity of obliging her; and as he hoped that amongst 
so many warm friends a few cool ones could not do much injury, 
he gave in the names of Badenoch and Athol, with those of Lord 
Douglas, Sir William Maitland (the only son of the venerable Knight 
of Thirlestane), Sir John Monteith, and manj^^ other brave Scots. 

For these, the Earls de Warenne, de Valence, and Montgomery, 
the Barons Hilton and Blenkinsopp, and others of note, were to be 
exchanged. Those of lesser consequence, man for man, were to be 
returned for Scots of the same degree. 

In arranging preliminaries to effect the speedy return of the Scots 



from England and on other subjects of equal moment had passed 
the time between the surrender of Stirling and the hour when Wallace 
was called to the plain to receive the homage of his grateful country. 

Impatient to behold him again, Lady jNIar hastened to the window 
of her apartment when the shouts in the streets informed her of the 
approach of Wallace. The loud huzzas, accompanied by the acclama- 
tions of "Our Protector and Prince!" seemed already to bind her 
brows with her anticipated diadem. Her ambitious vision was dis- 
turbed by the crowd rushing forward; the gates were thronged with 
people of every age and sex, and Wallace himself appeared on his 
white charger, with his helmet off, bowing and smiling upon the 

Another eye besides Lady Mar's had witnessed the triumphant 
entry of Wallace. Helen was this witness. She had passed the long 
interval since she had seen Wallace in the state of one in a dream. 
The glance had been so transient, that every succeeding hour seemed 
to lessen the evidence of her senses that she had really seen him. 

In the moment of her beholding the chief of Ellerslie in the citadel 
she recognized in his form the resplendent countenance of him whom 
she supposed the Prince of Scotland. That two images so opposite 
should at once imite, that in one bosom should be mingled all the 
virtues she had believed peculiar to each, struck her with amazement; 
but when she recovered from her short swoon and found Wallace 
at her feet, when she felt that all the devotion her heart had hitherto 
paid to the simple idea of virtue alone would now be attracted to 
that glorious mortal in whom all human excellence appeared summed 
up, she trembled under an emotion that seemed to rob her of herself. 

All was so extraordinary, so bewildering, that from the moment 
in which she had retired from her first interview in the gallery with 
him, she became altogether like a person in a trance; and hardly 
answering her aunt, only complained she was ill, and threw herself 
upon a couch. 

At the very time that her heart told her, in a language she could 
not misunderstand, that she irrevocably loved this glorious Wallace, it 
as powerfully denounced to her that she had devoted herself to one 
who must ever be to her as a being of air. 

"Were this a canonized saint," cried she as she laid her throbbing 
head upon her pillow, "how gladly should I feel these emotions! For 
could I not fall down and worship him? Ah, could I be in Edwin's 
place, and wait upon his smiles! But that may not be; I am a woman, 
and formed to suffer in silence and seclusion. But even at a distance, 
brave Wallace, my spirit shall watch over you and my prayers shall 


follow you, so that when we meet in heaven the blessed Virgin shall 
say with what hosts of angels my vigils have surrounded thee!" 

Thus did Helen commune with her own heart. She seldom ap- 
peared from her own rooms and such retirement was not questioned, 
her father being altogether engaged at the citadel, the countess ab- 
sorbed in her own speculations, and Lady Ruthven alone interrupting 
the solitude of her niece. Little suspecting the cause of Helen's 
indisposition, she generally selected Wallace for the subject of con- 
versation. She descanted with enthusiasm on the perfection of his 
character; told her all that Edwin had related of his actions, from 
the taking of Dumbarton to the present moment; and then bade 
Helen remark the miracle of such wisdom, valor, and goodness being 
found in one so young and handsome. 

"So, my child," added she, "depend on it, before he was Lady 
Marion's husband he must have heard sighs enough from the fairest 
in our land to have turned the wits of half the male world. There 
is something in his very look, did you meet him on the heath, without 
better garb than a shepherd's plaid, sufficient to declare him the 
noblest of men." 

With these words she turned the subject to the confidential hours 
he passed with the young adopted brother of his heart. When Lady 
Ruthven repeated his pathetic words concerning Lady Marion, she 
wept, while silent tears flowed from the heart to the eyes of Lady 

"Alas!" cried Lady Ruthven, "that a man so formed to grace 
every relation in life should be deprived of the wife on whom 
he doted; that he should be cut off from all hope of posterity; that, 
when he shall die, nothing will be left of William Wallace, — breaks 
my heart." 

While Lady Ruthven was uttering these words, shouts in the 
streets made her pause, and soon recognizing the name of Wallace 
sounding from the lips of the rejoicing multitude, she turned to 
Helen. "Here comes our deliverer!" cried she; "we have not seen 
him since the first day of our liberty. It will do you good to look 
on his beneficent face." 

She obeyed the impulse of her aunt's arm, and reached the window 
just as he passed into the court-yard. Helen's soul seemed rushing 
from her eyes. "Ah! it is indeed he!" thought she; "no dream, no 
illusion, but his very self." 

He looked up, but not on her side of the building: it was to the 
window of Ladv Mar, and as he bowed he smiled. All the charms 


of that smile struck upon the soul of Helen, and hastily retreating, 
she sank breathless into a seat. 

"Oh, no! that man cannot be born for the isolated state I have 
just lamented!" Lady Ruthven ejaculated this with fervor, her 
cheeks flushing with a sudden and more forcible admiration of the 
person of Wallace. "There was something in that smile, Helen, which 
tells me all is not chilled within. And, indeed, how should it be other- 
wise? That generous interest in the happiness of all cannot spring 
from a source incapable of dispensing the softer streams of it again." 

Helen, whose well-poised soul was not affected by the agitations 
of her body, calmly answered, "Such a hope little agrees with all you 
have been telling me of his conversations with Edwin. Sir William 
Wallace will never love woman more, and even to name the idea 
seems an offense against the sacredness of his sorrow." 

"Blame me not, Helen," returned Lady Ruthven, "that I forgot 
probability in gi-asping at a possibility which might give me such a 
nephew as Sir William Wallace, and you a husband worthy of your 

"No more of this, if you love me, my dear aunt!" returned Helen; 
"it neither can nor ought to be. I revere the memory of Lady Marion 
too much not to be agitated by the subject; so, no more." 

At that instant Edwin, throwing open the door, put an end to 
the conversation. He came to apprise his mother that Sir William 
Wallace was in the state apartments, come purposely to pay his 
respects to her. 

"I will not interrupt his introduction now," said Helen, with a 
faint smile; "a few days' retirement will strengthen me, and then T 
shall see our protector as I ought." 

"I will stay with you," cried Edwin; "and I dare say Sir William 
Wallace will have no objection to be speedily joined by my mother, 
for as I came along I met my Aunt ISIar hastening through the gal- 
lery; and between ourselves, my sweet coz, I do not think my noble 
friend quite likes a private conference with your fair stepmother." 

Lady Ruthven had withdrawn before he made this observation., 

"Why, Edwin! surely she would not do anything ungracious 
to one to whom she owes so great a weight of obligations?" 

"Ungracious! oh, no! but her gratitude is full of absurdity. I 
will not repeat the fooleries with which she sought to detain him at 
Bute. And that some new fancy respecting him is now about to 
menace his patience, I am convinced, for on my way hither I met her 
hurrying along, and as she passed me she exclaimed, 'Is Lord Buchan 


arrived?' I answered, 'Yes.' — 'Ah, then he proclaimed him king!' 
cried she, and into the great gallery she darted." 

"You do not mean to say," demanded Helen, turning her eyes 
with an expression which seemed confident of his answer, "that Sir 
William Wallace has accepted the crown of Scotland?" 

"Certainly not," replied Edwin; "but as certainly it has been 
offered to him, and he has refused it." 

"I could have sworn it," returned Helen, rising from her chair; 
"all is loyal, all is great and consistent there, Edwin." 

"He is indeed the perfect exemplar of all nobleness," rejoined 
the youth, "and I believe I shall even love you better, my dear cousin, 
because you seem to have so clear an apprehension of his real char- 
acter." He then proceeded, with the most zealous affection, to narrate 
to Helen the particulars of the late scene on the Carse of Stirling. 
And while he deepened still more the profound impression the virtues 
of Wallace had made on her heart, he reopened its more tender sym- 
pathies by repeating, with even minuter accuracy than he had done to 
his mother, details of those hours which he passed with him in retire- 

"When," said Edwin, "after a conversation on his beloved Marion, 
a few^ natural regrets pass his lips, and my tears tell how deep is my 
sympathy, then he turns to comfort me; then he shows me the world 
beyond this — that world which is the aim of all his deeds, the end of 
all his travails. It is this belief that bathes his lips in the smiles of 
paradise, that throws a divine luster over his eyes, and makes all 
dream of love and happiness that look upon him." 

Edwin paused. "Is it not so, my cousin?" 

Helen raised her thoughtful face. "He is not a being of this 

earth, Edwin. We must learn to imitate him, as well as to " She 

hesitated, and then added, "as well as to revere him. I do revere him 
with such a sentiment as fills my heart when I bend before the altars 
of the saints, and this sentiment, my dear Edwin, you partake." 

"It possesses me wholly," cried the youth. "I have no thought, 
no wish, nor ever move or speak, but with the intent to be like him. 
He calls me his brother, and I will be so in soul, though I cannot in 
blood; and then, my dear Helen, you shall have two Sir William 
Wallaces to love." 

"Sweetest boy!" cried Helen, putting her quivering lips to his 
forehead; "you will then always remember that Helen so dearly loves 
Scotland as to be jealous, above all earthly things, for the lord re- 
gent's safety. Beware of treason, in man and woman, friend and 
kindred. It lurks, my cousin, under the most specious forms; and, 


as one, mark Lord Biichan; in short, have a care of all whom any of 
the House of Cummin may introduce. Watch over your general's 
life in the private hour. It is not the public field I fear for him; 
his valiant arm will there be his own guard. But, in the day of con- 
fidence, envy will point its dagger; and then be as eyes to his trust- 
ing soul, as a shield to his breast." 

"I will be all this," cried Edwin, who saw nothing in her solici- 
tude but the affection which glowed in his own heart ; "and I will be 
your eyes, too, my cousin; for when I am absent with Sir William 
Wallace I shall consider myself your representative, and so will send 
you regular despatches of all that happens to him." 

Thanks would have been a poor means of imparting what she 
felt at this assurance, and rising from her seat, she pressed Edwin's 
hand to her heart ; then withdrew into an inner apartment. 



The countess's greeting from the window gave Wallace reason to 
anticipate her company in his visit to Lady Ruthven, and on finding 
tlie room vacant, he despatched Edwin for his mother, that he might 
not be distressed by the advances of a woman whom, as the wife of 
Lord JNIar, he was obliged to see. Respect the countess he could 
not, nor, indeed, could he feel any gratitude for a preference which 
seemed to him to have no foundations in the only true basis of love — 
the virtues of the object. 

In the midst of thoughts so little to her advantage Lady Mar 
entered the room. Wallace turned to meet her, while she, hastening 
towards him and dropping on one knee, exclaimed, "Let me be the 
first woman in Scotland to acknowledge its king!" 

Wallace put forth both his hands to raise her, and smiling re- 
plied, "Lady Mar, you would do me an honor I can never claim." 

"How?" cried she, starting up. "What then was that cry I heard? 
Did they not call you 'prince,' and 'sovereign'? Did not my Lord 
Buchan " 

Confused, disappointed, she left the sentence unfinished, sank on 
a seat and burst into tears. At that moment she saw her anticipated 
crown fall from her head, and having united the gaining of Wallace 
with his acquisition of this dignity, all her hopes seemed again the 
sport of winds. She felt as if Wallace had eluded her power, and 
now all was rejected, and she wept in despair. He gazed at her with 
amazement. What these emotions and his elevation had to do with 
each other he could not guess; but recollecting her manner of men- 
tioning Lord Buchan's name, he answered, "Lord Buchan I have just 
seen. He and Lord March came upon the carse at the time I went 
thither to meet my gallant countrymen, and these two noblemen 
united with the rest in proclaiming me regent." 

This word dried the tears of Lady Mar. She saw the shadow of 
royalty behind it, and calmly said, "Do not condemn this weakness; 
it is not that of vain wishes for your aggrandizement. You are 
the same to Joanna Mar whether ns a monarch or a private man: 
it is for Scotland's sake alone that I wish you to be her king. You 



have taught me to forget all selfish desires," cried she, "and from this 
hour I conjure you to wipe from your memory all my folly, all my 
love " 

With the last word her bosom heaved, and she rose in agitation. 
Wallace now gazed on her with redoubled wonder. She saw it, and 
hearing a foot in the passage, turned, and grasping his hand, said in 
hurried tone, "Forgive that what is entwined with my heart should 
cost me some pangs to wrest thence again! Only respect me and I' 
am comforted." Wallace in silence pressed her hand, and the door 

Lady Ruthven entered. The countess, whose present aim was 
to throw the virtue of Wallace off its guard, and to take that by sap 
which she found resisted open attack, disappeared by another pas- 
sage. Lord Ruthven with others soon entered, and at the appointed 
hour they attended their chief to the citadel. 

The council-hall was already filled with the lords who had brought 
their clans to the Scottish standard. On the entrance of Wallace 
they rose, and Mar, coming forward, followed by the heralds and 
other officers of ceremony, saluted him with the due forms of regent, 
and led him to the throne. Wallace ascended, but it was only to 
take thence a packet which had been deposited for him on its cushion, 
and coming down again he laid the parchment on the council-table. 

"I can do all things best," said he, "when I am upon a level with 
my friends." He then broke the seal of the packet. It was from 
the Prince of Wales, agreeing to Wallace's proposed exchange of 
prisoners, but denouncing him as the instigator of the rebellion, and 
threatening him with a future judgment from his incensed king. The 
letter was finished with a demand that the town and citadel of Ber- 
wick should be surrendered to England as a gage for the quiet of the 
borders till Edward should return. 

Kirkpatrick scoffed at the menace of the young prince. "He 
should come amongst us like a man," cried he, "and we would soon 
show him who it is that works mischief in Scotland." 

"Be not angry with him, my friend," returned Wallace; "these 
threats are words, of course, from the son of Edward. Did he not 
fear both our rights and our arms he would not so readily accord with 
our pro^^ositions. You see, every Scottish prisoner is to be on the 
borders by a certain day, and to satisfy your impatient valor you will 
retake your castles in Annandale." 

"Give me but the means to recover those stout gates of our coun- 
try," cried Kirkpatrick, "and I will warrant you to keep the keys 
in my hand till doomsday/' 


Wallace resumed: "Three thousand men are at youi command. 
When the prisoners pass each other on the Cheviots, .the armistice 
will terminate. You may then fall back upon Annandale, and that 
night light your own fires in Torthorald. Send the expelled gar- 
risons into Northumberland, and show this haughty prince that we 
know how to replenish his depopulated towns." 

"But first I will set my mark on them," cried Kirkpatrick, with 
one of those laughs which ever precluded some savage proposal. 

"I can guess it would be no gentle one," returned Wallace. 
"Why, brave knight, will you ever sully the fair field of your fame 
with an ensanguined tide?" 

"It is the fashion of the times," replied Kirkpatrick, roughly. 
"You only, my victorious general, who, perhaps, had most cause to 
go with the stream, have chosen a path of your own. Sir William 
Wallace, you w^ould make women of us!" 

"Shame, shame! Kirkpatrick," resounded from every voice; "you 
insult the regent." 

Kirkpatrick stood proudly frowning, with his left hand on the hilt 
of his sword. Wallace, by a motion, hushed the tumult, and spoke. 
"No true chief of Scotland can offer me greater respect than frankly 
to trust me with his sentiments." 

"Though we disagree in some points," cried Kirkpatrick, "I am 
ready to die for him at any time, for I believe a trustier Scot treads 
not the earth; but I repeat, why seek to turn our soldiers into 

"I seek to make them men," replied Wallace; "to be aware that 
they fight with fellow-creatures with whom they may one day be 
friends; and not like the furious savages of old Scandinavia, drink 
the blood of eternal enmity." 

"Then I am not to cut off the ears of the freebooters in Annan- 
dale?" cried Kirkpatrick, with a good-humored smile. "Have it as 
you will, my general; only you must new christen me, to wash the 
war-stain from my hand." 

While he spoke, Ker entered to ask permission to introduce a 
messenger from Earl de W^arenne. Wallace gave consent. It was 
Sir Hugh le de Spencer, a near kinsman of the Earl of Hereford. 
He was the envoy who had brought the Prince of Wales's despatches 
to Stirling. Wallace was standing when he entered, and so were 
the chieftains, but at his appearance they sat down. Wallace retained 
his position. 

'T come," cried the Southron knight, "from the lord warden of 
Scotland, who, like my prince, too greatly condescends to do other- 


wise than command where now he treats. I come to the leader of 
this rebelKon, Wilham Wallace, to receive an answer to the terms 
granted by the clemency of my master, the son of his liege lord, to this 
misled kingdom." 

"Sir Knight," replied Sir William Wallace, "when the Southron 
lords delegate a messenger to me who knows how to respect the rep- 
resentative of the nation to which he is sent, and the agents of his 
own country, I shall give them my reply. You may withdraw." 

The Southron stood, resolute to remain w^here he was. "Do you 
know, proud Scot," cried he, "to whom you dare address this lan- 
guage? I am the nephew of the lord high constable of England." 

"It is pity," cried Murray, looking coolly up from the table, "that 
he is not here to take his kinsman into custody." 

Le de Spencer fiercely half drew his sword. "Sir, this insult " 

"Must be put up with," cried Wallace, interrupting him and mo- 
tioning Edwin to lay his hand on the sword. "You have insulted 
the nation to which you were sent on a peaceful errand, but in con- 
sideration of your youth, and probable ignorance of what becomes 
the character of an ambassador, I grant you the protection your be- 
havior has forfeited. Sir Alexander Scrymgeour," said he, turning 
to him, "you will guard Sir Hugh le de Spencer to the Earl de 
Warenne, and tell that nobleman I am ready to answer any proper 

The young Southron, frowning, followed Scrymgeour from the 
hall, and Wallace, turning to INIurray: "JNIy friend," said he, "it 
is not well to stimulate insolence by repartee. This young man's 
speech, though an insult to the nation, was directed to me, and by me 
only it ought to have been answered. The haughty spirit of this 
man should have been quelled, not incensed; and had you proceeded 
further, you would have given him an apparently just cause of com- 
plaint against you." 

"I know," returned Murray, blushing, "that my wits are too 
many for me, ever throwing me, like Phaethon's horses, into the midst 
of some very fiery mischief. But pardon me now, and I promise to 
rein them close when next I see this prancing knight." 

Wallace then engaged himself in discourse with the elder nobles. 
In half an hour Scrymgeour returned and with him Baron Hilton. 
He brought an apology from De Warenne for the behavior of his 
ambassador, and added his persuasions to the demands of England, 
that the Regent would surrender Berwick, not only as a pledge for 
the Scots keeping the truce on the borders, but as a proof of his con- 
fidence in Prince Edward, 


Wallace answered that he had no reason to show confidence in 
one who manifested by such a requisition that he had no faith in 
Scotland, and therefore, Scotland, a victorious power, should not 
surrender the eastern door of her kingdom to the vanquished. Wal- 
lace declared himself ready to dismiss the English prisoners to the 
frontiers, and to maintain the armistice till they had reached the south 
side of the Cheviots. "But," added he, "my word must be my bond, 
for, by the honor of Scotland, I will give no other." 

"Then," answered Baron Hilton, with an honest flush passing over 
his cheek, as if ashamed of what he had next to say, "I am constrained 
to lay before you the last instructions of the Prince of Wales to 
Earl de Warenne." 

He took a royally sealed roll of vellum from his breast and read 

Thus saith Edward, Prince of Wales, to Earl de Warenne, lord warden of Scot- 
land: If that arch-rebel, William Wallace, who now assumeth to himself the rule 
of all our royal father's hereditary dominions north of the Cheviots, refuseth to 
give unto us the whole possession of the town and citadel of Berwick-upon-Tweed, 
as a pledge of his faith to keep the armistice on the borders from sea to sea, we 
command you to tell him, that we shall detain, in the Tower in London, the 
person of William, the Lord Douglas, as a close captive until our prisoners now in 
Scotland arrive safely at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This mark of supremacy over a 
rebellious people we owe as a pledge of their homage to our royal father, and as a 
tribute of our gratitude to him for having allowed us to treat at all with so undutiful 
a part of his dominions. 


Edward, P.W. 

"Baron," cried Wallace, "it would be beneath the dignity of Scot- 
land to retaliate this act with the like conduct. The exchange of 
prisoners shall yet be made, and the armistice held sacred on the 
borders. But, as I hold the door of war open in the interior of the 
country, before the Earl de Warenne leaves this citadel, the Southron 
usurpers of all our castles on the eastern coast shall be our hostages 
for the safety of Lord Douglas!" 

"And this is my answer, noble Wallace?" 

"It is; and you see no more of me till that which I have said is 

Baron Hilton withdrew, and Wallace, turning to his peers, rapidly 
made dispositions for a sweeping march from frith to frith ; and hav- 
ing sent those who were to accompany him to prepare for departure, 
he retired with the Lords Mar and Both well to arrange affairs rela- 
tive to the prisoners. 


THE governor's APARTMENTS. 

The sun rose on Wallace and his brave legions as they traversed the 
once romantic glades of Strathmore. Sheep, without a shepherd, 
fled wild from the approach of man, and wolves issued howling from 
the cloisters of depopulated monasteries. The army approached 
Dumblane; but it was without inhabitant; grass grew in the streets, 
and the birds flew scared from the windows as the trumpet of Wal- 
lace sounded through the town. Loud echoes repeated the summons 
from its hollow walls; but no other voice was heard, no human face 
appeared, for the ravening hand of Cressingham had been there. 

They proceeded over many a hill and plain, and found that the 
same touch of desolation had burnt up and overwhelmed the coun- 
try. Wallace saw that his troops were faint for want of food ; cheer- 
ing them, he promised that Ormsby should provide them a feast in 
Perth; and, with reawakened spirits, they took the river Tay at its 
fords, and were soon before the walls of that city. But it was gov- 
erned by a coward; and Ormsby fled to Dundee at the first sight of 
the Scottish army. His flight might have warranted the garrison to 
surrender without a blow; but a braver man being his lieutenant, 
sharp was the conflict before Wallace could compel that officer to 
abandon the ramparts. 

This enterprise achieved, Wallace, with a host of prisoners, turned 
his steps towards the Forth ; but ere he left the banks of the Tay and 
Dee he detached three thousand men, undei! the command of Lord 
Kuthven, giving him a commission to range the country from the 
Carse of Gowrie to remotest Sutherland, and in all that tract reduce 
every town and castle which had admitted a Southron garrison. Wal- 
lace took leave of Lord Ruthven at Huntingtower ; and that noble- 
man, when he assumed this extensive conimand, said, as he grasped 
the regent's hand, "I say not, bravest of Scots, what is my gratitude 
for thus making me an arm of my country, but deeds will show." 

A rapid march round by Fifeshire brought the conqueror and his 
troops again within sight of the towers of Stirling. It was on the 
eve of the day which he had promised Earl de Warenne should see 
the English prisoners depart for the borders. No doubt of his ar- 



riving at the appointed time was entertained by the Scots or by the 
Southrons in the castle, for they knew the sacredness of his word. 

De Warenne, as he stood on the battlements of the keep, beheld 
from afar the long line of Scottish soldiers as they descended the 
Ochil hills. When he pointed it out to De Valence, that nobleman, 
against the evidence of his eyesight, contradicted the observation of 
the veteran earl. 

"Your sight deceives you," said he; "it is only the sunbeams play- 
ing on the cliffs." 

"Then those cliffs are moving ones," cried De Warenne. "We 
shall find Wallace here before sunset, to show us how he has resented 
tlie affront our prince cast on his honor." 

"His honor," returned De Valence, "is like that of his coun- 
trymen's — an enemy alike to his own interest and to that of others. 
Had it allowed him to accept the crown of Scotland, and so have 
fought Edward with the arm of a king, all might go well; but as the 
honor you speak of prevents his using these means of ending the 
contest, destruction must close his career." 

"And what quarrel," demanded De Warenne, "can you, my Lord 
de Valence, have against this nice honor of Sir William Wallace, 
since you allow it secures the final success of our cause?" 

"His honor and himself are hateful to me," impatiently answered 
De Valence; "he crosses me in my wishes, public and private." He 
turned pale as he spoke and met the penetrating glance of De 

"Which man of us all, from the general to the meanest follower 
in our camps, has he injured?" asked De Warenne. 

Lord Aymer frowned. "Did he not expose me, threaten me with 
an ignominious death, on the walls of Stirling?" 

"But was it before he saw the Earl of Mar, with his hapless fam- 
ily, brought with halters on their necks to be suspended from this 
very tower? Ah! what a tale has the lovely countess told me of 
that direful scene!" 

"I care not," cried De Valence, "what are the offenses of this 
Wallace, but I hate him, and my respect for his advocates cannot 
but correspond with that feeling." As he spoke he abruptly turned 
away and left the battlements. 

Pride would not allow the enraged earl to confess his private rea- 
sons for this enmity against the Scottish chief. A conference which 
he had held the preceding evening with Lord Mar was the cause of 
this hatred, and from that moment the haughty Southron vowed the 
destruction of Wallace, by open attack or secret treachery. The 


instant in which he knew that the young creature, whom he discerned 
clinging around the Earl of Mar's neck in the streets of Stirling, was 
the same Lady Helen on whose account Lord Soulis had poured on 
him such invectives in Bothwell Castle, he ordered her to be imme- 
diately conveyed to his apartments in the citadel. 

On their first interview he was more struck by her personal charms 
than he had ever been with any woman's, although few were so noted 
for gallantry in the English court as himself. To all others of her 
sex he had declared his wishes with ease, but w^hen he looked on Helen 
the admiration her loveliness inspired was checked by an indescribable 
awe. No word of passion escaped his lips; he sought to win her by 
a deportment consonant with her own dignity, and obeyed all her 
wishes excepting when they pointed to any communication with her 
parents. Seeing the anguish of her fears for her father, and hearing 
the fervor with which she implored for his life, De Valence adopted 
the plan of granting the earl reprieves from day to day; and in 
spite of the remonstrances of Cressingham he intended to grant to 
her her father's release on condition of her accepting his advances. 

Ambition, as well as love, impelled him to this resolution, for he as- 
pired to the dignity of lord warden of Scotland, and he foresaw that 
the vast influence which his marriage with the daughter of JNIar must 
give him in the country would be a decisive argument with the King 
of England. 

To this purpose, not doubting the Scottish earl's acceptance of 
such a son-in-law, on the very day that Wallace marched towards 
the coast De Valence sent to request an hour's private audience of 
Lord INIar. He could not then grant it; but at noon next day they 
met in the governor's apartments. 

The Southron, without much preface, opened his wishes, and 
proffered his hand for the Lady Helen. "I will make her the proud- 
est lady in Great Britain," continued he, "for she shall have a court 
in my Welsh province little inferior to that of Edward's queen." 

"Pomp would have no sway with my daughter," replied the 
earl; "it is the princely mind she values, not its pageantry. I shall 
repeat to her what you have said, and to-morrow deliver her answer." 

Not deeming it possible that it should be otherwise than favor- 
able, De Valence allowed his imagination to roam over every antici- 
pated delight. He exulted in the pride with which he would show 
this perfection of northern beauty to the fair of England ; how would 
the simple graces of her seraphic form, which looked more like a 
being of air than of earth, put to shame the labored beauties of the 


Full of these anticipations, he attended the Governor of Stirling 
the next day, to hear his daughter's answer. But unwilling to give 
the earl that advantage over him which a knowledge of his views in 
the marriage might occasion, he affected a composure he did not feel, 
and with a lofty air entered the room, as if he were come rather 
to confer than to beg a favor. This deportment did not lessen the 
satisfaction with which the brave Scot opened his mission. 

"My lord, I have just seen my daughter. She duly appreciates 
the honor you would confer on her; she is grateful for all your cour- 
tesies whilst she was your prisoner; but beyond that sentiment, her 
heart, attached to her native land, cannot sympathize with your 

De Valence started. He did not expect anything in the shape 
of a denial; but supposing that perhaps a little of his own art was 
tried by the father to enhance the value of his daughter's yielding, he 
threw himself into a chair, and affecting chagrin at a disappointment 
which he did not believe was seriously intended, exclaimed with vehe- 
mence, "Surely, Lord Mar, this is not meant as a refusal? I cannot 
receive it as such, for I know Lady Helen's gentleness. Her mar- 
riage with me may facilitate that peace with England which must be 
the wish of us all, and perhaps the lord wardenship, which De 
Warenne now holds, may be transferred to me. I have reasons for 
expecting that it will be so; and then she, as a queen in Scotland, and 
you as her father, may claim every distinction from her fond husband, 
every indulgence for the Scots, which your patriot heart can dictate." 

The silence of the Earl of Mar, who, willing to hear all that was 
in the mind of De Valence, had let him proceed uninterrupted, en- 
couraged the Southron lord to say more than he had at first intended 
to reveal; but when he made a pause, and seemed to expect an an- 
swer, the earl spoke: 

"I am fully sensible of the honor you would bestow upon my 
daughter and myself by your alliance ; but, as I have said before, her 
heart is too devoted to Scotland to marry any man who does not make 
it his duty to prefer the liberty of her native land, even before his 
love for her. That hope, to see our country freed from a yoke un- 
justly laid upon her, is the only passion, I believe, that lives in the 
bosom of my Helen, and therefore, noble earl, not even your offers 
can equal the measures of her wishes." 

At this speech De Valence bit his lip with real disappointment. 
"I am not to be deceived. Lord Mar," cried he. "I am not to be 
cajoled by the pretended patriotism of your daughter; I know the 
sex too well to be cheated with these excuses. What leads your 


daughter from my arms is not the freedom of Scotland, but the 
handsome rebel who conquers in its name, but he will fall, Lord 
Mar, and then what will be the fate of his adherents?" 

"Earl de Valence," replied the veteran, "sixty winters have 
checked the tides of passion in my veins; but the indignation of my 
soul against any insult offered to my daughter, or to the name of the 
lord regent of Scotland, is not less powerful in my breast. You are 
my prisoner, and I pardon what I could so easily avenge. I will even 
answer you, and say, that I do not know of any exclusive affection 
subsisting between my daughter and Sir William Wallace; but this 
I am assured of, that were it the case, she would be more ennobled 
in being the wife of so true a patriot, and so virtuous a man, than 
were she advanced to the bosom of an emperor." 

"It is well that is your opinion," replied De Valence, stopping 
in his wrathful strides: "cherish these heroics, for you will assuredly 
see him exalted on a scaffold. Start not, old man, — for by all the 
powers of hell I swear that some eyes which now look proudly on 
the Southron host shall close in blood! Were you wise enough to 
embrace the advantage I offer, you might be a prophet of good to 
your nation, for all that you could promise I would take care should 
be fulfilled. But you cast from you your safety; my vengeance shall, 
therefore, take its course. Though you now see me a prisoner, 
tremble, haughty Scot, at the resentment which lies in this head and 

He left the room as he spoke, and Lord Mar, shaking his vener- 
able head as he disappeared, said to himself, "Impotent rage of pas- 
sion and of youth, I pity and forgive you!" 

It was not, therefore, so extraordinary that De Valence, when 
he saw Wallace descending the Ochil hills vnth the flying banners of 
new victories, should break into curses and swear inwardly the most 
determined revenge. 

Fuel was added to this fire at sunset when the almost measure- 
less defiles of prisoners marshaled before the ramparts of Stirling, 
and taking the usual oath to Wallace, met his view. 

"To-morrow we quit these dishonoring walls," cried he to him- 
self; "but ere I leave them, if there be power in gold or strength in 
my arm, he shall die!" 



The regent's reentrance into the citadel of Stirling being on the 
eve of the day he had promised should see the English lords depart 
for their country, De Warenne, as a mark of respect to a man whom 
he could not but regard with admiration, went to the barbican-gate to 
bid him welcome. 

Wallace appeared, and as the cavalcade of noble Southrons who 
had lately commanded beyond the Tay followed him, Murray glanced 
his eye around and said with a smile to De Warenne, "You see. Sir 
Earl, how we Scots keep our word!" and then he added, "You leave 
Stirling to-morrow, but these remain till Lord Douglas opens their 

"I cannot but acquiesce in the justice of your commander's de- 
termination," returned De Warenne; "and to comfort these gentle- 
men under their captivity, I can only tell them, that if anything can 
reconcile them to the loss of liberty, it is being the prisoners of Sir 
William Wallace." 

After having transferred his captives to the charge of Lord Mar, 
Wallace went alone to the chamber of Montgomery to see whether 
the state of his wounds would allow him to march on the morrow. 
While he was yet there an invitation arrived from the Countess of 
Mar, requesting his presence at an entertainment which, by her hus- 
band's consent, she meant to give that night at Snawdoun to the 
Southron lords, before their departure for England. 

At this moment a messenger entered from Lord Mar to request 
the regent's presence in his closet. He found him with Lord de 
Warenne. The latter presented him with another despatch from 
the Prince of Wales. It was to say that news had reached him of 
Wallace's design to attack the castles garrisoned by England on the 
eastern coast. Should this information prove true, he (the Prince) 
declared that as a punishment for such audacity he would put Lord 
Douglas into closer confinement, and while the Southron fleets would 
inevitably baffle Wallace's attempts, the moment the exchange of 
prisoners was completed on the borders an army from England should 
enter Scotland and ravage it with fire and sword. 



When Wallace had heard this despatch, he smiled and said, "The 
deed is done, my Lord de Warenne. Both the castles and the fleets 
are taken; and what punishment must we now expect from this ter- 
rible threatener?" 

"Little from him or his headlong counselors," replied De 
Warenne; "but Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, the king's nephew, is 
come from abroad with a numerous army. He is to conduet the 
Scottish prisoners to the borders, and then to fall upon Scotland with 
all his strength, unless you previously surrender not only Berwick, 
but Stirling, and the whole of the district between the Forth and 
the Tweed." 

"My Lord de Warenne," replied Wallace, "you can expect but 
one return to these absurd demands. I shall accompany you myself 
to the Scottish borders, and there make my reply." 

De Warenne replied: "I anticipated that such would be your 
determination, and I have to regret that the wild counsels which sur- 
round my prince precipitate him into conduct which must draw 
nmch blood on both sides, before his royal father's presence can 
regain what he has lost." 

"Ah, my lord!" replied Wallace, "is it to be nothing but war? 
Have you now a stronghold of any force in all the Highlands? Is 
not the greater part of the Lowlands free ? and before this day month 
not a rood of land in Scotland is hkely to hold a Southron soldier. 
Not a blade of grass would I disturb on the other side of Cheviot 
if we might have peace. Let Edward yield us that, and though he 
has pierced us with many wounds, we will yet forgive him." 

De Warenne shook his head. "I know my king too well to expect 
pacific measures. He may die with the sword in his hand, but he 
will never grant an hour's repose to this country till it submits to 
his scepter." 

"Then," replied Wallace, "the sword must be the portion of him 
and his! — ruthless tyrant!" 

A flush overspread the face of De Warenne at this term, and 
forcing a smile, "This strict notion of right," said he, "is very well in 
declamation, but how would it crop the wings of conquerors and 
shorten the warrior's arm did they measure by this rule!" 

"How would it, indeed!" replied Wallace; "and that they should 
is most devoutly to be wished. All warfare that is not defensive is 
criminal. This is the plain truth, Lord de Warenne." 

"I have never considered it in that light," returned the earl, 
"nor shall I turn philosopher now. I revere your principle. Sir 
William Wallace, but it is too sublime to be mine. By the sword my 


ancestors gained their estates, and with the sword I have no objection 
to extend my territories." 

Wallace did not answer his remark, and the conference soon 

Though burning with stifled passions, Earl de Valence accepted 
the invitation of Lady Mar. He hoped to see Helen, and, above 
all, to find some opportunity, during the entertainment, of taking 
his meditated revenge on Wallace. The dagger seemed the surest 
way, for, could he render the blow effectual, he should not only de- 
stroy the rival of his wishes, but by ridding his monarch of a powerful 
foe deserve every honor at the royal liands. Love and ambition 
again swelled his breast, and with a glow on his countenance, which 
reawakened hope had planted there, he accompanied De Warenne to 
the palace. 

The hall for the feast was arrayed with feudal grandeur. The 
seats at the table spread for the knights of both countries were covered 
with highly wrought stuffs, while the emblazoned banners and other 
armorial trophies of the nobles being hung aloft, according to the 
degree of the owner, each knight saw his precedence and where to 
take his place. The most costly meats, with the royally attired pea- 
cock, served up in silver and gold dishes, and wine of the rarest quality 
sparkled on the board. During the repast two choice minstrels were 
seated in the gallery above, to sing the friendship of King Alfred, 
of England, with Gregory the Great, of Caledonia. The squires and 
other military attendants of the nobles present were placed at tables 
in the lower part of the hall, and served with courteous hospitality. 

Resentful alike at his captivity and thwarted passion, De Valence 
had hitherto refused to show himself beyond the ramparts of the 
citadel ; he was therefore surprised on entering the hall at Snawdoun 
with De Warenne to see such regal pomp, and at the command of 
the woman who had so lately been his prisoner at Dumbarton. For- 
getting these indignities in the pride of displaying her present con- 
sequence, Lady Mar came forward to receive her illustrious guests. 
Her dress corresponded with the magnificence of the banquet; a robe 
of cloth of gold enriched, while it displayed the beauties of her person, 
her wimple blazed with jewels, and a superb necklet emitted its rays 
from her bosom. 

De Warenne followed her with his eyes as she moved from him. 
With an unconscious sigh he whispered to De Valence, "What a land 
is this, where all the women are fair, and the men all brave!" 

"I wish that it and all its men and women were in perdition!" 
returned De Valence in a fierce tone. Lady Ruthven, entering with 


the wives and daughters of the neighboring chieftains, checked the 
further expression of his wrath, and his eyes sought amongst them, 
but in vain, for Helen. 

The chieftains of the Scottish army, with the Lords Buchan and 
March, were assembled around the countess at the moment a shout 
from the populace without announced the arrival of the regent. His 
noble figure w^as now disencumbered of armor, and with no more 
sumptuous garb than the simple plaid of his country, he appeared 
in the glory of his recent deeds. De Valence frowned heavily as he 
looked on him, and thanked his stars that Helen was absent. The 
eyes of Lady ]Mar at once told the impassioned De Valence what 
were her sentiments toward the young regent, and the eager civilities 
of the ladies around displayed how much they were struck with 
the now fully discerned and unequaled graces of his person. 

The entertainment was conducted with every regard to that 
courtesy which a noble conqueror always pays to the vanquished. 
Indeed, from the wit and pleasantry which passed from the opposite 
sides of the tables, and in which the ever gay JNIurray was the leader, 
it rather appeared a convivial meeting of friends than an assemblage 
of foes. During the banquet the bards sung legends of the Scottish 
worthies, and as the board was cleared they struck at once into a full 
chorus. Wallace caught the sound of his own name accompanied 
with epithets of extravagant praise and with his hand motioned them 
to cease. They obeyed; but Lady IMar remonstrating with him, he 
smilingly said it was an ill omen to sing a warrior's actions till he 
were incapable of performing more. 

As the hours moved on, the spirits of Wallace subsided from 
their usual cheering tone into a sadness which he thought might be 
noticed, and whispering to Mar that he would go for an hour to 
visit Montgomery, he withdrew, unnoticed by all but his watchful 

De Valence, who hovered about his steps, had heard him inquire 
of Lady Ruthven why Helen was not present. He was within hear- 
ing of this whisper also, and with a satanic joy the dagger shook 
in his hand. He knew that Wallace had many a solitary place to 
pass between Snawdoun and the citadel; and the company being too 
absorbed to mark who entered or disappeared, he took an opportunity 
and stole out after him. 

But for once the fury of hatred met a temporary disappointment. 
While De Valence was "cowering Hke a thief under the eaves of the 
houses, and prowling along the lonely paths to the citadel, Wallace 
had taken a different track. 


As he walked through the illuminated archways which led from 
the hall he perceived a darkened passage. Hoping by that avenue 
to quit the palace unobserved, he immediately struck into it. He 
followed the passage for a considerable time, and at last was stopped 
by a door, which yielded to his hand, and he found himself at the 
entrance of a large building. He advanced, and passing a high screen 
of carved oak, by a dim light which gleamed from waxen tapers on 
the altar, he perceived it to be the chapel. 

"A happy transition," said he to himself, "from the jubilant scene 
I have now left. Here, gracious God, may I, unseen by any other 
eye, pour out my heart to thee. And here, before thy footstool, will 
I with my tears wash from my soul the blood I have been compelled 
to shed." 

While advancing towards the altar he was startled by a voice with 
gently breathed fervor uttering these words : "Defend him. Heavenly 
Father, day and night, from the devices of this wicked man, and, 
above all, during these hours of revelry and confidence guide his 
unshielded breast from treachery and death." A figure, which had 
been hidden by the rails of the altar, with these words rose, and 
stretching forth her clasped hands, exclaimed, "But thou who knowest 
I had no blame in this, will not afflict me by his danger! Thou wilt 
deliver thy Wallace, O God, out of the hand of this cruel foe!" 

Wallace was not more astonished at hearing that some one in 
whom he reposed was his secret enemy, than at seeing Lady Helen 
in that place at that hour, and addressing Heaven for him. There 
was something so celestial in the maid as she stood in her white robes, 
before the divine footstool, that although her prayers were delivered 
with a pathos which told they sprang from a heart more than com- 
monly interested in their object, yet every word and look breathed 
so eloquently the hallowed purpose of her petitions that Wallace 
did not hesitate to discover himself. He stepped from the shadow 
vv^hich involved him. The pale light of the tapers shone upon his 
advancing figure. Helen's eyes fell upon him as she turned round. 
He moved forward. "Lady Helen," said he, in a respectful and 
even tender voice. At the sound, shame seemed to overwhelm her 
faculties, for she knew not but that he had heard her beseech Heaven 
to make him less the object of her thoughts. She sank on her knees 
beside the altar and covered her face with her hands. 

The action might have betrayed her secret to Wallace. But he 
only remembered that it was she who had given a holy grave to 
the only woman he could ever love, and full of gratitude, as a pilgrim 
would approach a saint he drew near to her. "Holiest of earthly 


maids," said he, kneeling down beside her, "in the sacred presence 
of Almighty Purity, receive my soul's thanks for the prayers I have 
this moment heard you breathe for me! They are a greater reward 
to me than would have been the crown with which Scotland sought 
to endow me, for do they not give me what all the world cannot, — 
the protection of Heaven!" 

"I would pray for it," softly answered Helen, but not venturing 
to look up. 

"Continue, then, to oiFer up that incense for me," added he, 
"and I shall march forth to-morrow with redoubled strength, for I 
shall think that I have yet a Marion to pray for me on earth as well 
as one in heaven." 

Lady Helen's heart beat at these words ; she withdraw her hands 
from her face, and clasping them, looked up. "Marion will indeed 
echo all my prayers, and He who reads my heart will grant them. 
They are for yoiir life, Sir William Wallace," added she, turning to 
him with agitation, "for it is menaced." 

"I will inquire by whom," answered he, "when I have first paid 
my duty at this altar for guarding it so long. I would beseech 
Heaven for pardon on my own transgressions ; I would ask its mercy 
to establish the liberty of Scotland. Pray with me. Lady Helen, 
and we shall meet the promise of Him who said, 'Where two or 
three are joined together in prayer, there am I in the midst of 
them.' " 

Helen looked on him with a holy smile, and pressing the crucifix 
which she held to her lips, bowed her head on it in mute assent. 
Wallace threw himself prostrate on the steps of the altar, and the 
fervor of his sighs alone breathed the deep devotion of his soul. But 
the bell of the palace striking the matin hour, reminded him he was 
yet on earth, and looking up his eyes met those of Helen. His de- 
votional rosary hung on his arm; he kissed it. "Wear this, holy 
maid," said he, "in remembrance of this hour." She bowed her fair 
neck, and he put the consecrated chain over it. "Let it bear witness 
to a friendship," added he, clasping her hands in his, "which will 
be cemented by eternal ties in heaven." 

At that moment Helen raised her head and with a terrible shriek, 
threw her arms around the body of Wallace. She saw an assassin's 
steel directed toward his back,* and she fell senseless on his breast. 
He started on his feet; a dagger fell from his wound to the ground, 
but the hand which had struck the blow he could nowhere see. To 
search further was then impossible, for Helen lay on his bosom like 
one dead. Not doubting that she had seen his assailant and fainted 


from alarm, he was laying her on the steps of the altar, that he might 
bring some water from the basin of the chapel to recover her, when 
he saw that her arm was not only stained with his blood, but stream- 
ing with her own. The dagger had gashed it in reaching him. 

"Execrable villain!" cried he, turning cold at the sight, and com- 
prehending that it was to defend him she had thrown her arms around 
him, he exclaimed in a voice of agony, "Are two of the most match- 
less women the earth ever saw to die for me!" Trembling with alarm, 
for the terrible scene of Ellerslie was now brought in all its horror 
before him, he tore off her veil to stanch the blood; but the cut was 
too wide for his surgery, and losing every other consideration in fears 
for her life, he again took her in his arms and bore her out of the 
chapel. He hastened through the dark passage, and almost flying 
along the lighted galleries entered the hall. The fright of the servants 
as he broke through their ranks at the door alarmed the revelers, 
and turning round, what was their astonishment to behold the regent, 
pale, and streaming with blood, bearing in his arms a lady apparently 
lifeless and covered with the same dreadful hue. 

Mar instantly recognized his daughter, and rushed towards her 
with a cry of horror. Wallace sank with his breathless load upon 
the nearest bench, and while her head rested upon his bosom, ordered 
surgery to be brought. Lady Mar gazed on the specter with dismay. 
None present durst ask a question, till a priest drawing near un- 
wrapped the arm of Helen and discovered its deep wound. 

"Who has done this?" cried her father to Wallace, with all the 
anguish of a parent in his countenance. 

"I know not," replied he; "but I believe some villain who aimed 
at my life." 

"Where is Lord de Valence?" exclaimed Mar, suddenly recollect- 
ing his menaces against Wallace. 

"I am here," replied he, in a composed voice. "Would you have, 
me seek the assassin?" 

"No, no," replied the earl, ashamed of his suspicion; "but there 
has been some foul work, and my daughter is slain!" 

"Oh, not so!" cried Murray, who had hurried towards the dreadful 
group and knelt at her side; "so much excellence cannot die!" A 
stifled groan from Wallace, accompanied by a look, told Murray that 
he had known the death of similar excellence. With this unanswer- 
able appeal the young chieftain dropped his head on the other hand 
of Helen, and could any one have seen his face, buried as it was 
in her robes, they would have beheld tears of agony drawn from that 
ever-gay heart. 


The wound was closed by the aid of another surgical priest, who 
had followed the former into the hall, and Helen sighed convulsively. 
At this intimation of recovery the priest made all stand back. But, 
as Lady Mar lingered near Wallace, she saw the paleness of his 
countenance turn to a ghastly hue, and his eyes closing, he sank back 
on the bench. 

At the instant Wallace fell, De Valence, losing all self-command, 
caught hold of De Warenne's arm, and whispering, "I thought it 
was sure, — Long live King Edward!" rushed out of the hall. These 
words revealed to De Warenne who was the assassin; and though 
struck to the soul with the turpitude of the deed, he thought the honor 
of England would not allow him to accuse the perpetrator, and he 
remained silent. 

The body of Wallace was now drawn from under that of Helen, 
and in the act discovered the tapestry seat clotted with blood, and 
the regent's back bathed in the same vital stream. Having found 
his wound, the priests laid him on the ground, and were administering 
their balsams when Helen opened her eyes. Her mind was too 
strongly possessed with the horror which had entered it before she 
became insensible to lose the consciousness of her fears; and imme- 
diately looking around her, her sight met the outstretched body of 
Wallace. "Oh! is it so!" cried she, throwing herself on the bosom 
of her father. He understood what she meant. "He lives, my child! 
but he is wounded like yourself. Have courage ; revive, for his sake 
and for mine." 

"Helen! dear Helen!" cried Murray, clinging to her hand; "while 
you live, what that loves you can die!" 

While these acclamations surrounded her couch, Edwin, in speech- 
less apprehension, supported the head of Wallace ; and De Warenne, 
inwardly execrating the perfidy of De Valence, knelt down to assist 
the good friars in their office. 

A few minutes longer, and the stanched blood refluxing to the 
chieftain's heart, he too opened his eyes, and instantly turning on his 
arm, "What has happened to me? Where is Lady Helen?" de- 
manded he. 

At his voice, which aroused Helen, she burst into a shower of 
relieving tears, and breathed out her rapturous thanks to God. 

The dimness having left the eyes of Wallace and the blood being 
stopped by an embalmed bandage, he seemed to feel no impediment 
from his wound, and rising, hastened to the side of Helen. Lord Mar 
softly whispered his daughter, "Sir William Wallace is at your feet, 
my dearest child; look on him and tell him that you live." 

L'opyriykl by Charles Scriincr'a Suns 

The wounded Helen 


"I am well, my father," returned she, in a faltering voice. 

"I, too, am alive and well," answered Wallace; "but thanks to 
God and to you, blessed lady, that I am so! Had not that lovely 
arm received the greater part of the dagger, it must have reached 
my heart." 

"Thanks to the Protector of the just," cried Helen, "for your 
preservation! who raised my eyes to see the assassin! His cloak 
was held before his face and I could not discern it, but I saw a dagger 
aimed at the back of Sir William Wallace. How I caught it I cannot 
tell, for I seemed to die on the instant." 

I^ady Mar reentered the hall just as Wallace had knelt down 
beside Helen. JNIaddened with the sight of the man on whom her 
soul doted in such a position before her rival, she advanced hastily, 
and in a Aoice which she vainly attempted to render composed, sternly 
addressed her daughter-in-law. "Alarmed as I have been by your 
apparent danger, I cannot but be uneasy at the attendant circum- 
stances; tell me, therefore, and satisfy this anxious company, how 
it happened that you should be with the regent when we supposed 
you an invalid in your room, and were told he was gone to the citadel?" 

A blush overspread the cheeks of Helen at this question, but as 
innocence dictated she answered, "I was in the chapel at prayers. 
Sir William Wallace entered with the same design, and at the moment 
he desired me to mingle mine with his, this assassin appeared, and," 
she repeated, "I saw his dagger raised against our protector, and I 
saw no more." 

There was not a heart present that did not give credence to this 
account but that of Lady Mar. She smiled incredulously, and turning 
to the company, "Our noble friends will accept my apology, if in 
so delicate an investigation I should beg that my family alone may 
be present." 

Wallace perceived the tendency of her words, and not doubting 
the impression they might make, he instantly rose. "For once," 
cried he, "I must counteract a lady's orders. It is my wish, lords, 
that you will not leave this place till I explain how I came to disturb 
the devotions of Lady Helen. Wearied with festivities in which 
my heart cannot share, I thought to pass an hour with Lord Mont- 
gomery in the citadel, and in seeking to avoid the crowded avenues 
of the palace I entered the chapel. To my surprise I found Lady 
Helen there. I heard her pray for the happiness of Scotland, for 
the safety of her defenders, and my mind being in a frame to join 
in such petitions, I apologized for my intrusion, and begsred permis- 
sion to mingle my devotions with hers. It was at this moment that 


the assassin appeared. I heard Lady Helen scream, I felt her head 
on my breast, and at that instant the dagger entered my back. 

"This is the history of our meeting; and the assassin, whosoever 
he may be, and how long soever he was in the church before he sought 
to perpetrate the deed, were he to speak, and capable of uttering 
truth, could declare no other." 

"But where is he to be found?" suspiciously demanded Lady Mar. 

"If his testimony be necessary to validate mine," returned Wal- 
lace, with dignity. "I believe Lady Helen can point to his name." 

"Name him, my dear cousin!" cried Murray; "oh, let me avenge 
this deed, and so yield me all that thou canst now bestow on Andrew 

There was something in the tone of Murray's voice that pene- 
trated to the heart of Helen. "I cannot name him whom I suspect 
to any but Sir William Wallace, and I would not do it to him," 
replied she, "were it not to warn him against future danger." 

"If he be a Southron," cried Baron Hilton, coming forward, 
"name him, gracious lady, and I will answer for it that were he the 
son of a king he would meet death from our monarch for this un- 
knightly outrage." 

"I thank your zeal, brave chief," replied she, "but I would not 
abandon to certain death even a wicked man. I will name him to 
Sir William Wallace alone; and when he knows his secret enemy, 
the vigilance of his own honor, I trust, will be his guard. Meanwhile, 
my father, I would withdraw." Then whispering him, she was lifted 
in his arms and Murray's, and carried from the hall. 

As she moved away, her eyes met those of Wallace. He rose; 
but she waved her hand to him, with an expression in her countenance 
of an adieu so firm, yet so tender, that, feeling as if he were parting 
with a beloved sister who had just risked her life for him, and whom 
he might never see again, he uttered not a word to any that were 
present, but leaning on Edwin, left the hall by an opposite door. 



Daybreak gleamed over the sky before the spectators of the late 
scene had dispersed to their quarters. De Warenne was so well 
convinced by what had dropped from De Valence of his having been 
the assassin, that when they met at sunrise to take horse for the 
borders, he made him no other salutation than an exclamation of 
surprise, "not to find him under an arrest for the last night's work." 

"The wily Scot knew better," rephed De Valence, "than so to 
expose the reputation of the lady. He knew that she received the 
wound in his arms, and he durst not seize me, for fear I should 
proclaim it." 

"He cannot fear that," repHed De Warenne, "for he has pro- 
claimed it himself. He has told every particular of his meeting with 
Lady Helen in the chapel, so there is nothing for you to declare but 
your own infamy. For infamous I must call it, Lord Aymer; and 
nothing but the respect I owe my country prevents me pointing the 
eyes of the indignant Scots to you." 

De Valence laughed at this speech of De Warenne's. "Why, 
my lord warden," said he, "have you been taking lessons of this 
doughty Scot, that you talk thus? It was not with such sentiments 
you overthrew the princes of Wales, and made the kings of Ireland 
fly before you ! You would tell another story were your own interest 
in question; and I can tell you that my vengeance is not satisfied. 
I will yet see the brightness of those eyes, on which the proud daughter 
of Mar hangs so fondly, extinguished in death." 

"Shame, De Valence! I should blush to owe my courage to 
rivalry, or my perseverance in the field to a guilty passion." 

"Every man according to his nature," returned De Valence; and 
shrugging his shoulders he mounted his horse. 

The cavalcade of Southrons now appeared. They were met on 
the carse by the regent, who advanced at the head of ten thousand 
men to see his prisoners over the border^. By Helen's desire^. Lord 
Mar had informed Wallace what had been the threats of De Valence, 
and that she suspected him to be the assassin. But this suspicion 
was put beyond a doubt by the evidence of the dagger, which Edwin 



had found in the chapel; its hilt was enameled with the martlets of 
De Valence. 

At sight of it a general indignation filled the Scottish chiefs, and 
assembling round their regent, with one breath they demanded that 
the false earl should be detained, and punished as became the honor 
of nations. Wallace replied that he believed the attack to have been 
instigated by a personal motive, and. therefore, as he was the object, 
not the state of Scotland, he should merely acquaint the earl that 
his villany was known, and let disgrace be his punishment. 

"Ah!" observed Lord Bothwell, "men who trample on conscience 
soon get over shame." 

"True," replied Wallace; "but I suit my actions to my own mind, 
not to my enemy's; and if he cannot feel dishonor, I will not so far 
disparage myself as to think one so base worthy my resentment." 

While he was quieting the reawakened indignation of his nobles, 
the Southron lords, conducted by Lord JMar, approached. When 
that nobleman drew near, Wallace's first inquiry was for Lady Helen. 
The earl informed him he had received intelligence of her having slept 
without fever, and that she was not awake when the messenger came 
off with his good tidings. That all was likely to be well with her 
was comfort to Wallace; and, with an unruffled brow, riding up to 
the squadron of Southrons, which was headed by De Warenne and 
De Valence, he immediately approached the latter, and drawing out 
the dagger held it towards him. "The next time. Sir Earl," said he, 
"that you draw this dagger, let it be with a more knightly aim than 

De Valence, surprised, took it in confusion, and without answer; 
but his countenance told the state of his mind. Having taken the 
dagger, he wreaked his malice upon the senseless steel, and breaking it 
asunder, threw the pieces into the air, while turning from Wallace 
with an affected disdain, he exclaimed to the shivered weapon, "You 
shall not betray me again!" 

"Nor you betray our honors. Lord de Valence," exclaimed Earl 
de Warenne; "and therefore, though the nobleness of Sir William 
Wallace leaves you at large after this outrage on his person, we 
will assert our innocence of the deed; and, as lord warden of this 
realm, I order you under an arrest till we pass the Scottish lines." 

De Valence, ^ith an ironical smile, looked towards the squadron 
which approached to obey De Warenne, and haughtily answered, 
"Though it be dishonor to you to march with me out of Scotland, the 
proudest of you all will deem it an honor to be allowed to return 
with me hither. And for you, Sir William Wallace," added he, 


turning to him, "I hold no terms with a rebel, and deem all honor 
that would rid my sovereign and the earth of such low-born 

Before Wallace could answer he saw De Valence struck from his 
horse by the Lochaber-ax of Edwin. Indignant at the insult offered 
to his beloved commander he had suddenly raised his arm, and aiming 
a blow with all his strength, the earl was inmiediately precipitated to 
the ground. 

At sight of the fall of the Southron chief the Scottish troops, 
aware of there being some misunderstanding between their regent and 
the English lords, uttered a shout. Wallace, to prevent accidents, 
sent instantly to the lines to appease the tumult, and throwing himself 
off his horse hastened to the prostrate earl. A fearful pause reigned 
throughout the Southron ranks. They did not know but that the 
enraged Scots would now fall on them, and, in spite of their regent, 
exterminate them on the spot. The troops were running forward 
when Wallace's messengers arrived and checked them, and himself, 
calling to Edwin, stopped his further chastisement of the recovering 

"Edwin, you have done wrong," cried he; "give me that weapon 
which you have sullied by raising it against a prisoner totally in our 

With a vivid blush the boy resigned the weapon to his general, yet 
he exclaimed, "But have you not granted life twice to this prisoner? 
and has he not, in return, raised his hand against your life and Lady 
Helen? You pardon him again, and in the moment of your clemency 
he insults the lord regent of Scotland in the face of both nations! 
I could not hear this, and live, without making him feel that you 
have those about you who will not forgive such crimes." 

"Edwin," returned Wallace, "had not the lord regent power to 
punish? And if he see right to hold his hand, those who strike for 
him invade his dignity. I should be unworthy the honor of protecting 
a brave nation did I stoop to tread on every reptile that stings me 
in my path. Leave Lord de Valence to the sentence his commander 
has pronounced; and, as an expiation for your having offended both 
military and moral law, this day you must remain at Stirling till I 
return into Scotland." 

De Valence, hardly awake from the stupor which the blow of 
the battle-ax had occasioned, was raised from the ground, and soon 
after coming to himself, he was taken, foaming with rage and morti- 
fication, into the center of the Southron lines. 

Alarmed at the confusion he saw at a distance, Lord Montgomery 


ordered his litter round from the rear to the front, and hearing all 
that had passed joined with De Warenne in pleading for the abashed 

"His youth and zeal," cried Montgomery, "are sufficient to excuse 
the intemperance of tne deed." 

"No," interrupted Edwin; "I have offended, and I will expiate. 
Only, my honored lord," said he, approaching Wallace, "when I am 
absent, sometimes remember that it was Edwin's love which hurried 
him to this disgrace." 

"My dear Edwin," returned Wallace, "there are many impetuous 
spirits in Scotland who need the lesson I now enforce upon you; and 
they will be brought to maintain the law of honor when they see that 
their regent spares not its violation, even when committed by his best 
beloved friend. Farewell, till we meet again!" 

Edwin kissed Wallace's hand in silence, and drawing his bonnet 
hastily over his eyes he retired into the rear of Lord Mar's party. 
That nobleman soon after took leave of the regent, whose trumpets 
blew the signal of march. Edwin, at the sound, which a few minutes 
before he would have greeted with so much joy, felt his heart give 
way, and, striking his heel on the side of his horse, galloped to a dis- 
tance to hide from all eyes the violence of his regrets. The trampHng 
of the departing troops rolled over the ground like receding thunder. 
Edwin at last stole a look towards the plain; he beheld a vast cloud 
of dust, but no more the squadrons of his friend. 



As Wallace pursued his march along the once fertile valleys of 
Clydesdale, their present appearance affected him like the sight of a 
friend whom he had seen depart in all the graces of prosperity, but 
met again overcome with wretchedness. 

The pastures of Carstairs on the east of the river, which used at 
this season to be whitened with sheep and sending forth the lowings 
of abundant cattle, and the vales, which had teemed with reapers 
rejoicing in the harvest, were now laid waste and silent. The re- 
mains of villages were visible, but the blackness of ashes marked 
the walls of the ruined dwellings. 

Wallace felt that he was passing through the country in which his 
JMarion had been rifled of her life; and as he moved along, nature 
all around seemed to have partaken her death. As he rode over the 
moors which led towards the district of Crawford Lammington, he 
became totally silent. Time rolled back; he was no longer the 
regent of Scotland, but the fond lover of Marion Braidfoot. 

One shattered tower alone remained of the house of Lammington. 
Fire had embrowned its sides, and the uprooted garden marked where 
the ravager had been. While his army marched before him, Wallace 
slowly moved forward, musing on the scene. In turning the angle 
of a wall his horse started, and the next moment he perceived an aged 
figure with a beard white as snow and wrapped in a dark plaid 
emerging from the ground. At sight of the apparition, Murray, 
who accompanied his friend, and had hitherto kept silent, suddenly 
exclaimed, "I conjure you, honest Scot, ghost or man, pray tell me to 
whom this ruined tower belonged?" 

The sight of two warriors in the Scottish garb encouraged the old 
man, and stepping out on the ground he drew near to Murray. 
"Ruined indeed, sir," repHed he, "and its story is very sad. When 
the Southrons who hold Annandale heard of the brave acts of Sir 
William Wallace, they sent an army to destroy this castle and do- 
mains, which are his in right of the Lady Marion of Lammington. 
Sweet creature ! I hear they foully murdered her in Lanark." 

"And did you know the Lady Marion, old man?" inquired Wal- 



lace, in a voice so descriptive of what was passing in his heart that the 
man turned towards him, pulled off his bonnet and bowing, answered, 
"Did I know her? She was nursed on these knees. And my wife, 
who cherished her sweet infancy, is now within yon brae. It is our 
only home, for the Southrons burnt us out of the castle, where our 
young lady left us when she went to be married to the brave young 
Wallace. He was as handsome a youth as ever the sun shone upon; 
and he loved my lady from a boy. I never shall forget the day when 
she stood on the top of that rock and let a garland he had made for 
her fall into the Clyde. Without more ado, he jumps in after it, and 
I after him ; and well I did, for when I caught him by his golden locks 
he was insensible. His head had struck against a stone in the plunge, 
and a great cut was over his forehead. God bless him ! a sorry scar 
it left; but many, I warrant, hath the Southrons now made on his 
comely countenance." 

Gregory, the honest steward of Lammington, was now recognized 
in this old man's narration; but time and hardship had so altered his 
appearance that Wallace could not have otherwise recollected his 
well-remembered companion. When he ended, the chief threw him- 
self from his horse. He approached the old man; with one hand he 
took off his helmet, and with the other putting back the same golden 
locks, he said, "Was the scar you speak of anything like this?" His 
face was now close to the eye of Gregory, who in the action, the words, 
and the mark immediately recognizing the young playmate of his 
happiest days, threw himself on his neck and wept; then looking up, 
he exclaimed, "O Power of Mercy, take me to thyself, since my eyes 
have seen the deliverer of Scotland!" 

"Not so, my venerable friend," returned Wallace; "you must make 
these desolated regions bloom anew. Decorate them, Gregory, as 
you would do the tomb of your mistress. I give them to you and yours. 
Let Marion's foster-brother, if he still live, be now the laird of Lam- 

"He does live," replied the old man, "but the shadow of what he 
was. In attempting, with a few resolute lads, to defend these do- 
mains, he was severely wounded. We fled with him to the woods, and 
there remained till all about here was laid in ashes. Fearful of fresh 
incursions, we dug us subterraneous dwellings, and ever since have 
lived like fairies in the green hillside. Alas! the Southrons, in con- 
quering Scotland, have not gained a kingdom, but made a desert." 

"And there is a God who marks!" returned Wallace; "I go to reap 
the harvests of Northumberland ; a few days, and your granaries shall 
overflow. Meanwhile I leave with you my friend," said he, pointing 


to INIurray, "at the head of five hundred men. To-morrow he may 
commence the reduction of every Enghsh fortress that yet casts a 
shade on the stream of our native Clyde; for, when the sun next rises, 
the truce expires." 

He then spoke apart to Murray, who cheerfully acquiesced in a 
commission that promised him not only the glory of being a con- 
queror, but the private satisfaction, he hoped, of driving the Southron 
garrison out of his own paternal castle. It was arranged between 
the young chief and his commander that watch-towers should be 
thrown up on every eminence throughout the country, whence signals 
of victories, or other information, might be interchanged. The re- 
gent's bugle then brought Ker and Sir John Graham to his side. The 
appointed number of men were left with JMurray ; and Wallace, join- 
ing his other chieftains, bade his friend and honest servant adieu. 

He now speeded his legions over hill and dale till they entered on 
the once luxuriant banks of the Annan, — this territory of some of the 
noblest in Scotland till Bruce, their chief, deserted them. It lay in 
more terrific ruin than even the tracts he had left, and in the midst of 
a barren w^aste a few houseless wretches rushed forward at sight of 
the regent, threw themselves before his horse, and begged a morsel of 
food for their famishing selves and dying infants. 

Wallace turned to his troops. "Fast for a day, my brave 
friends," cried he; "lay the provisions you have brought with you 
before these hapless people. To-morrow you shall feast largely on 
Southron tables." 

He was instantly obeyed. As his men marched on they threw 
their loaded wallets among the famishing groups, and, followed by 
their blessings, descended with augmented speed the hills of Annan- 
dale. Dawn was brightening the dark head of Brunswark as they 
advanced towards the Scottish boundary. At a distance, like a 
wreath of white A^apors, lay the English camp along the Southern 
bank of the Esk. At this sight Wallace ordered his bugles to sound. 
They were immediately answered b}" those of the opposite host. The 
heralds of both armies advanced; and the sun, rising from behind 
the eastern hills, shone full upon the legions of Scotland. 

Two hours arranged every preliminary to the exchange of pris- 
oners, and when the trumpet announced that each party was to 
pass over the river to the side of its respective country, Wallace stood 
in the midst of his chieftains to receive the adieus of his illustrious 
captives. When De Warenne approached the regent took off his 
helmet. The Southron had already his in his hand. "Farewell, 
gallant Scot," said he; "if aught could embitter this moment of re- 


covered freedom, it is that I leave a man I so revere still confident 
in a hopeless cause!" 

"It would not be the less just were it indeed desperate," replied 
Wallace; "but had not Heaven shown on which side it fought, I 
should not now have the honor of thus bidding the brave De Warenne 

The earl passed on, and the other lords, with grateful and re- 
spectful looks, paid their obeisance. 

The escort which guarded De Valence advanced, and the proud 
earl, seemg where his enemy stood, took off his gauntlet, and throw- 
ing it fiercely towards him, exclaimed, "Carry that to your minion 
Ruthven, and tell him the hand that wore it will yet be revenged." 

As the Southron ranks filed off towards Carlisle, those of the 
returning Scottish prisoners approached their deliverer. Now it 
was that the echoes rang with loud huzzas of "Long live the valiant 
Wallace, who brings our nobles out of captivity! Long live our 
matchless regent!" The captive Scots, to the number of several hun- 
dreds, were ready to kiss the feet of the man who thus restored them 
to their country, and their friends, and Wallace bowed his happy 
head under a shower of blessings which poured on him from a thou- 
sand grateful hearts. 



This being the season of harvest in the northern counties of Eng- 
land, Wallace carried his reapers, not to lay their sickles to the field, 
but, with their swords, to open a way into the Southron granaries. 

The careful victor, meanwhile, provided for the wants of his 
friends on the other side of the Esk. The plunder of Percy's camp 
was despatched to them, which, being abundant in all kinds of pro- 
visions, was more than sufficient to keep them in ample store till they 
could reach Stirling. From that point the released chiefs had prom- 
ised their regent they would disperse to their separate estates, collect 
recruits, and reduce the distracted state of the country into some com- 
posed order. Wallace had disclosed his wish, and mode of effecting 
this renovation of public happiness before he left Stirling. It con- 
tained a plan of military organization, by which each youth able to 
bear arms should not only be instructed in the use of the weapons of 
war, but in the duties of subordination, and above all, have the nature 
of the rights for which he was to contend explained to him. 

There was an expansive providence in all this, which few of the 
nobles had ever even glanced at, as a design conceivable for Scotland. 
There were many of these warrior chiefs who could not even under- 
stand it. 

"Ah! my lords," replied he to their objections, "deceive not your- 
selves with the belief that by the mere force of arms a nation can ren- 
der itself great and secure. Industry, temperance, and discipline 
amongst the people, with moderation and justice in the higher orders, 
are the only aliments of independence." 

The graver council at Stirling had received his plan with en- 
thusiasm. And when, on the day of his parting with the released 
chiefs on the banks of the Esk, with all the modesty of his nature he 
submitted his design to them, rather to obtain their approbation as 
friends than to enforce it with the authority of a regent; when they 
saw him thus coming down from the dictatorship to which his un- 
rivaled talents had raised him to equal himself still with them, all 
were struck with admiration. 

When the messenger from Wallace arrived on the banks of the 



Esk with so large a booty, and the news of his complete victory over 
the gallant Percy, the exultation of the Scottish nobles knew no 

On Lord Badenoch opening the regent's despatches he found they 
repeated his wish for his coadjutors to proceed to the execution of 
the plan they had sanctioned ; they were to march directly for Stirling, 
and in their way dispense the plunder amongst the perishing inhabi- 
tants of the land. At the close of this account Wallace added, that 
himself, with his brave band, were going to traverse the English 
counties to the Tee's mouth, and, should Heaven bless his arms, he 
would send the produce round by the Berwick fleet to replenish the 
exhausted stores of the Highlands. "Next year," continued he, "1 
trust they will have ample harvests of their own." 

Wallace's commission was not to destroy, but to save ; and though 
he carried his victorious army to feed on the Southron plains, and 
sent the harvests of England to restore the wasted fields of Scotland, 
yet he did no more. No fire blasted his path; no innocent blood 
cried against him from the ground. Yf hen the impetuous zeal of his 
soldiers, flushed with victory, and in the heat of vengeance, would 
have laid several hamlets in ashes, he seized the brand from the de- 
stroying party, and, throwing it into an adjoining brook, "Show your- 
selves worthy the advantages you have gained," cried he, "by the 
moderation with which you use them. Consider yourselves as the 
soldiers of God, who alone has conducted you to victory. 

"I wish you to distinguish between a spirit of reprisal in what 
I do, and that of retaliation, which actuates your present violence. 
What our enemies have robbed us of. as far as they can restore, I 
can take again. Their bread shall feed our famishing country; their 
wool clothe its nakedness. But blood for blood is a doctrine abhor- 
rent to God and to humanity. 

"Thus I reason with you, and I hope many are convinced. But 
they who are insensible to argument must fear authority, and I de- 
clare that every man who inflicts injury on the houses or on the per- 
sons of the quiet peasantry of this land, shall be punished as a traitor 
to the state." 

According to the different dispositions of men, this reasoning 
prevailed. And from the end of September to the month of Novem- 
ber, when, having scoured the counties of England, even to the gates 
of York, he returned to Scotland, not an offense was committed which 
could occasion his merciful spirit regret. It was on All-Saints' day 
when he again approached the Esk, and so great was his spoil that 
his return seemed more like some vast caravan moving the merchan- 


dise of half the world, than the march of an army which had so lately 
passed that river a famishing though valorous host. 

The outposts of Carlaveroch soon informed Maxwell that the lord 
regent was in sight. At the joyful intelligence a double smoke 
streamed from every watch-hill in Annandale; and Sir Eustace had 
hardly appeared on the Sol way bank to meet his triumphant chief 
when the eager speed of the rough knight of Torthorald brought 
him there also. Wallace, as his proud charger plunged into the ford 
and the heavy wagons groaned after him, was welcomed to the shore 
by the shouts not only of the soldiers which had followed IMaxwell 
and Kirkpatrick, but by the people, who came in crowds to hail their 
preserver and each smiling countenance, beaming with health, se- 
curity, and gratitude, told Wallace, more emphatically than a thou- 
sand tongues, the wisdom of the means he had used to regenerate his 

Maxwell had prepared the fortress of Lochmaben, once the resi- 
dence of Bruce, for the reception of the regent. And thither Wal- 
lace was conducted, in prouder triumph than ever followed the chariot 
wheels of Csesar. 

When he arrived in sight of the two lochs which spread like wings 
on each side of the castle, he turned to Graham. "What pity," 
said he, "that the rightful owner of this regal dwelling does not act as 
becomes his blood! He might now be entering its gates as a king, 
and Scotland find rest under its lawful monarch." 

"But he prefers being a parasite in the court of a tyrant," replied 
Sir John, "and from such a school Scotland would reject its king." 

"But he has a son," replied Wallace; "a brave and generous son. 
X am told by Lord Montgomery, who knew him in Guienne, that a 
nobler spirit does not exist. On his brows, my dear Graham, we 
must hope one day to see the crown." 

"Then only as your heir, my lord regent," interrupted Maxwell; 
"for while you live, I can answer for it that no Scot will acknowledge 
any other ruler." 

"I will first eat my own sword," cried Kirkpatrick. 

At this moment the portcullis of the gate was raised, and Maxwell 
falling back to make way for the regent, Wallace had no time to 
answer a sentiment, now familiar to him, by hearing it from every 
grateful heart. 



Day succeeded day in the execution of these beneficial designs. When 
fulfilled, the royal halls of Lochmaben did not long detain him who 
knew no satisfaction but when going about doing good. While he 
was then employed, raising with the quickness of magic, by the hands 
of his soldiers, the lately ruined hamlets into well-built villages ; while 
the gray smoke curled from a thousand russet cottages, which now 
spotted the sides of the snow-clad hills; while all the lowlands, 
whithersoever he directed his steps, breathed of comfort and abun- 
dance, he felt like the father of a large family in the midst of a happy 
home, where every eye turned on him with reverence. 

He had hardly gone the circuit of these now cheerful valleys when 
an embassy from England, which had first touched at Lochmaben, 
overtook him at the tower of Lammington. The ambassadors were 
Edmund, Earl of Arundel (a nobleman who had married the only 
sister of De Warenne), and Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham. 

At the moment their splendid cavalcade, escorted by a party from 
Sir Eustace JNIaxwell, entered the gate of Lammington, Wallace was 
in hourly expectation of Edwin, and hearing the trampling of horses 
he hastened into the court-yard, attended by Gregory's grandchil- 
dren. One was in his arms, two others held by his plaid, and a fourth 
played with the sword he had unbuckled from his side. It was a 
clear frosty day, and the keenness of the air brightened the com- 
plexion of Wallace, while it deepened the roses of his infant compan- 
ions. The leader of the Scottish escort immediately proclaimed to 
the ambassadors that this was the regent. At sight of so uncourtly 
a scene, the haughty prelate of Durham drew back. 

"This man will not understand his own interest," said he, in a 
disdainful whisper to Lord Arundel. 

"I am inclined to think his estimation of it will be beyond ours." 
As the earl made this reply, the ofHcer of Maxwell informed Wallace 
of the names and errand of the illustrious strangers. At the mention 
of a Southron, the elder children ran screaming into the house, leav- 
ing the youngest, who continued on the breast of Wallace. 

The bishop drew near, 



"We come, Sir William Wallace," cried the prelate, in a lordly 
tone, "from the King of England with a message for your private 

"And I hope, gallant chief," joined Lord Arundel, "what we 
have to impart will give peace to both nations, and establish in honor 
the most generous, as well as the bravest, of enemies." 

Wallace bowed to the earl's compliment, and, resigning the child 
into the arms of Graham, with a graceful welcome he conducted the 
Southron lords into the hall. 

Lord Arundel looking around, said, "Are we alone. Sir William?" 

"Perfectly," he rephed; "and I am ready to receive any pro- 
posals for peace which the rights of Scotland will allow her to ac- 

The earl drew from his bosom a gold casket, and laying it on a 
table before him, addressed the regent: "Sir William Wallace, I come 
to you not with the denunciations of a lord whom a vassal has of- 
fended, but in the grace of the most generous of monarchs, anxious 
to convert a brave insurgent into a loyal friend. My lord the king, 
having heard, by letters from my brother-in-law, the Earl de 
Warenne, of the honorable manner with which you treated the Eng- 
lish whom the fate of battle threw into your power, instead of send- 
ing over from Flanders a mighty army to overwhelm this rebellious 
kingdom, has deputed me to reason with the rashness he is ready to 
pardon. Also, with this diadem," continued the earl, drawing a cir- 
clet of jewels from the casket, "which my brave sovereign tore from 
the brows of a Saracen prince, he sends the assurance of his regard 
for the heroic virtues of his enemy. And to these jewels, he com- 
mands me to say, he will add a more efficient crown, if Sir William 
Wallace will acknowledge, as he is in duty bound to do, the suprem- 
acy of England over this country. Speak but the word, noblest of 
Scots," added the earl, "and the Bishop of Durham has orders from 
the generous Edward immediately to anoint you King of Scotland; 
that done, my royal master will support you in your throne against 
every man who may dare to dispute your authority." 

At these words Wallace rose from his seat. "My lord," said he, 
"since I took up arms for injured Scotland I have been used to look 
into the hearts of men; I therefore estimate with every due respect 
the compliment which this message of your king pays to my virtues. 
Take back the Saracen's diadem ; it shall never dishonor the brows of 
him who has sworn by the Cross to maintain the independence of 
Scotland, or to lay down his life in the struggle." 

"Weigh well, brave sir," resumed the earl, "the consequences of 


this answer. Edward will soon be in England; he will march hither 
himself, not at the head of such armies as you have discomfited, but 
with countless legions, and when he falls upon any country in in- 
dignation the places of its cities are known no more." 

"Better for a brave people so to perish," replied Wallace, "than 
to exist in dishonor." 

"What dishonor, noble Scot, can accrue from acknowledging the 
supremacy of your liege lord? or to what can the proudest ambition 
in Scotland extend beyond that of possessing its throne?" 

"I am not such a slave," cried Wallace, "as to prefer what men 
might call aggrandizement before the higher destiny of preserving to 
my country its independence. To be the guardian of her laws, and 
of the individual rights of every man born on Scottish ground, is 
my ambition." 

"Put from you all the prejudices," interrupted Lord Arundel, 
"which the ill conduct of Edward's officers have excited, and you 
must perceive that in accepting his terms you will best repay your 
country's confidence by giving it peace." 

"So great would be my sin in such an acceptance," cried Wal- 
lace, "that I should be abhorred by God and man. You talk of 
noble minds, earl; look into your own, and will it not tell you that in 
the moment a peo^^le bring themselves to put the command of their 
actions and their consciences into the hands of a usurper, they sell 
their birthright and become unworthy the name of men? Neither 
the threats nor the blandishments of Edward have power to shake 
the resolves of them who 'draw the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.' " 

"Rebellious man!" exclaimed Beck, who listened impatiently, 
"since you dare quote Scripture to sanction crime hear my embassage: 
To meet the possibility of this obstinacy, I caine armed with the thun- 
der of the church and the indignation of a justly incensed monarch. 
Accej:)t his most gracious offers delivered to you by the Earl of 
j^irundel. Here is the cross to receive your oath of fealty," cried 
he, stretching it forth as if he thought his commands were irresistible ; 
"but beware! keep it with a truer faith than did the traitor Baliol, or 
expect the vengeance of your liege lord!" 

Wallace was not discomposed by this attack from the stormy 
})relate. "My Lord of Durham," replied he with his usual tranquil 
air, "had your sovereign sent me such proposals as became a just 
king, and were possible for an honest Scot to admit, he should have 
found me ready to have treated him with the respect due to his rank 
and honor. But I ask you, priest of Heaven, is lie a god greater than 
Jehovah, that I should fear him?" 


"And durst thou presume, audacious rebel!" exclaimed Beck, "that 
the light of Israel deigns to shine on a barbarian nation in arms 
against a hero of the Cross? Does not the church declare the claims 
of Edward to be just? and who dares gainsay her decrees?" 

"The voice of Him you pretend to serve. Bishop, I know in 
whom I trust. Is the minister greater than his Lord that I should 
believe the word of a synod against the will of God? Neither 
anathema nor armed thousands shall make me acknowledge the su- 
premacy of Edward." 

"Then," cried Beck, suddenly rising, black with choler, and 
stretching his crosier over the head of Wallace, "as the rod of Moses 
shed plagues, miseries, and death over the land of Egypt, I invoke 
the like judgments to fall on this rebellious land, on its blasphemous 
leader. And thus I leave it my curse." 

Wallace smiled as the terrific words fell from the lips of this 
demon in sacred guise. Lord Arundel observed him. "You despise 
this malediction. Sir William Wallace. I thought more piety had 
dwelt with so much military nobleness." 

"I should not regard the curses of a world," replied Wallace, 
"when my conscience as loudly proclaims that God is on my side. 
Did the clouds rain fire, and the earth open beneath me, I would not 
stir; for I know who planted me here; and as long as he wills me 
to stand, neither men nor devils can move me hence." 

"Thou art incorrigible!" cried Beck. 

"I would say firm," rejoined Arundel, overawed by the majesty 
of virtue, "could I regard, as he does, the cause he has espoused. But, 
as it is, noble Wallace," continued he, "I must regret your infatua- 
tion; and instead of the peace I thought to leave with you, hurl war 
upon the head of this devoted nation." As he spoke he threw his 
lance against the opposite wall, in which it stuck and stood shivering; 
then taking up the casket with its splendid contents, he replaced it 
in his bosom. 

Beck had turned away in wrath from the table, and, advancing 
to the door, he threw it open, as if he thought that longer to breathe 
the same air with the person he had excommunicated would infect 
him with his own curses. On opening the door, a group of Scots, 
who waited in the antechamber, hastened forward. At sight of the 
prelate they raised their bonnets and hesitated to pass. He stood on 
the threshold, proudly neglectful of their respect. In the next minute 
Wallace appeared with Lord Arundel. 

"Brave knight," said the earl, "the adieus of a man as sensible 


of your private worth as he regrets the errors of your public opinions, 
abide with you." 

"Were Edward sensible to virtue, hke his brave subjects," repHed 
the chief, "I should not fear that another drop of blood need be shed 
in Scotland to convince him of his present injustice. Farewell, 
noble earl; the generous candor of yourself and of your brother-in- 
law will ever live in the remembrance of William Wallace." 

While he yet spoke a youth broke from the group before them, 
and, rushing towards the regent, threw himself with a cry of joy at 
his feet. "My Edwin, my brother!" exclaimed Wallace, and, im- 
mediately raising him, clasped him in his arms. The throng of Scots 
who had accompanied their young leader from Stirling now crowded 
about the chief, some kneeling and kissing his garments, others ejac- 
ulating with uplifted hands their thanks at seeing their protector in 
safety and with redoubled glory. 

"You forgive me, my master and friend?" cried Edwin, forget- 
ting, in the agitation of his mind, the presence of the English am- 

"It was only as a master I condemned you, my brother," returned 
Wallace. "Every proof of your affection must render you dearer 
to me, and had it been exerted against an offender not so totally in 
our power you would not have met my reprimand." 

Lord Arundel, who had lingered to observe this scene, now ven- 
tured to interrupt it. "May I ask, noble Wallace," said he, "if this 
youth be the brave young Ruthven who distinguished himself at Dum- 
barton, and who, De Warenne told me, incurred a severe, though just, 
sentence from you, in consequence of his attack upon one whom, as 
a soldier, I blush to name?" 

"It is the same," replied Wallace; "the valor and fidelity of such 
as he are as sinews to my arms." 

"I have often seen the homage of the body," said the earl, "but 
here I see that of the soul, and were I a king I should envy Sir Wil- 
liam Wallace." 

"This speech is that of a courtier or a traitor!" suddenly ex- 
claimed Beck, turning with a threatening brow on Lord Arundel. 
"Beware, earl! for what has now been said must be repeated to the 
royal Edward, and he will judge whether flattery to this proud rebel 
be consistent with your allegiance." 

"Every word that has been uttered in this conference I will myself 
deliver to King Edward," replied Lord Arundel; "he shall know 
the man on whom he may be forced by justice to denounce the sentence 
of rebellion, and when his royal arm lays this kingdom at his feet, the 


virtues of Sir William Wallace may then find the clemency he now 

Beck did not condescend to listen to the latter part of this ex- 
planation, but proceeding to the court-yard, had mounted his horse 
before his worthier colleague appeared from the hall. Taking a 
gracious leave of Sir John Graham, who attended him to the door, 
the earl exclaimed, "What miracle is before me! Not the mighty 
mover only of this wide insurrection is in the bloom of manhood, but 
all his generals that I have seen appear in the very morning of youth. 
And you conquer our veterans; you make yourselves names which, 
with us, are only purchased by hairs grown gray in camps and battles." 

"Then by our morning judge what our day may be," replied 
Graham, "and show your monarch that as surely as the night of death 
will in some hour close upon prince and peasant, this land shall never 
again be overshadowed by his darkness." 

Arundel made some courteous reply to Graham, then bowing to 
the rest of the Scottish officers who stood around, turned his steed, 
and, followed by his escort, pursued the steps of the bishop along the 
snow-covered banks of the Clyde. 

When Wallace was left alone with Edwin, the happy youth took 
from his bosom two packets, one from Lord Mar and the other from 
the countess. "My dear cousin," said he, "has sent you many 
blessings ; but I could not persuade her to register even one on paper, 
while my aunt wrote all this. Almost ever since her own recovery, 
Helen has confined herself to my uncle's sick chamber, now totally 
deserted by the fair countess." 

Wallace remarked on the indisposition of Mar and the attention 
of his daughter with tenderness, and Edwin proceeded sportively 
to describe the regal style which the countess had affected, and the 
absurd pomp with which she had welcomed the Earls Badenoch and 
Athol to their native country. "Indeed," continued he, "I cannot 
guess what vain idea has taken possession of her; but when I went 
to Snawdoun to receive her commands for you, I found her seated 
on a kind of throne, with ladies standing in her presence, and our 
younger chieftains thronging the gallery, as if she were the regent 
herself. Helen entered for a moment, but amazed, started back, 
never before having witnessed the morning courts of her step-mother." 

But Edwin did not relate to his friend all that had passed in the 
succeeding conference between him and his gentle cousin. Blushing 
for her father's wife Helen would have retired immediately to her 
own apartments, but Edwin drew her into one of Lady Mar's rooms, 
and seating her beside him, began to speak of his anticipated meeting 


with Wallace. He held her hand in his. "My dearest cousin," said 
he, "will not this tender hand, which has suffered so much for our 
brave friend, write him one word of kind remembrance? Our queen 
here will send him volumes." 

"Then he would hardly have time to attend to one of mine," re- 
plied Helen, with a smile; "besides, he requires no assurances to con- 
vince him that Helen Mar can never cease to remember her bene- 
factor with the most grateful thoughts." 

"And is this all I am to say to him, Helen?" 

"All, my Edwin." 

"What! not one word of the life you have led since he quitted 
Stirling? Shall I not tell him of the sweet maid who lives here the 
life of a nun for him? Or must I entertain him with the pomps and 
vanities of my most unsaintly aunt?" 

Helen had in vain attempted to stop him, while with an arch 
glance at her blushes he whispered these insidious questions. "Ah, 
my sweet cousin, there is something more at the bottom of that beat- 
ing heart than you will allow your faithful Edwin to peep into!" 

Helen's heart did beat violently, both before and after this re- 
mark ; but conscious of the determined purpose of her soul, she turned 
on him a steady look. "Edwin," said she, "there is nothing in my 
heart that you may not see. That it reveres Sir William Wallace 
beyond all other men, I do not deny. Is not he a brighter object than 
I can anywhere look upon? I am happy with my thoughts, and 
thrice happy at the side of my father's couch, for there I meet the 
image of the most exemplary of human beings, and there I perform 
the duties of a child to a parent deserving all my love and honor." 

"Ah, Helen! Helen!" cried Edwin, "dare I speak the wish of 
my heart! But you and Sir William Wallace would frown on me, 
and I may not." 

"Then never utter it," exclaimed Helen, too well guessing, by 
the generous glow in his countenance, what would have been that 

At this instant the door opened and Lady Mar appeared. Both 
rose at her entrance. She bowed her head coldly to Helen. To 
Edwin she graciously extended her hand. "Why, my dear nephew, 
did you not come into the audience-hall?" 

Edwin answered, smiling, that as he did not know the Governor 
of Stirling's lady lived in the state of a queen, he had retired, till he 
could bid her adieu in a less public scene. 

Lady Mar, with much stateliness replied, "Perhaps it is necessary 
to remind you, Edwin, that I am more than Lord Mar's wife. I 


am not only heiress to the sovereignty of the northern isles, but, like 
Lord Badenoch, am of the blood of the Scottish kings." 

To conceal a laugh at this folly in a woman otherwise of shrewd 
imderstanding, Edwin turned towards the window, but not before 
the countess had observed the ridicule which played on his lips. 
"N'exed, but afraid to reprimand one who might so soon resent it by 
speaking of her disparagingly to Wallace, she unburdened her anger 
upon the unoffending Helen. Not doubting that she felt as Edwin 
did. and fancying that she saw the same expression in her counte- 
nance, "Lady Helen," cried she, "I request an explanation of that 
look of derision which I now see on your face. I wish to know 
whether your vanity dare impel you to despise claims which may one 
day be established to your confusion." 

This attack surprised Helen, who, absorbed in other meditations, 
had scarcely heard her mother's words to Edwin. "I neither deride 
you, Lady JNlar, nor despise the claims of your kinsman Badenoch. 
But since you have condescended to speak to me on the subject, I 
must, out of respect to yourself and duty to my father, frankly say 
that the assumption of honors not legally in your possession may 
excite ridicule on him and even trouble to our cause." 

Provoked at the just reasoning of this reply, Lady Mar answered 
rather inconsiderately, "Your father is an old man, and has outlived 
every noble emulation. He neither understands my actions nor shall 
he control them." Struck dumb by this unexpected declaration, 
Helen suffered her to proceed. "And as to Lord Badenoch giving 
me the rank to which my birth entitles me, that is a foolish dream — 
I look to a greater hand." 

"What!" inquired Edwin, with a playful bow, "does my high- 
ness aunt expect my uncle to die, and that Bruce will come hither to 
lay the crown of Scotland at her feet?" 

"I expect nothing of Bruce nor of your uncle," returned she, 
with a haughty rearing of her head, "but I look for respect from 
the daughter of Lord Mar and from the friend of Sir WiUiam 

She rose from her chair, and presenting Edwin with a packet 
for Wallace, told Helen coldly that she might retire to her own room. 

The substance of the latter part of this scene Edwin did relate 
to Wallace. He smiled at the follies of the countess and broke the 
seal of her letter. It was in the same style with her conversations; 
at one moment declaring herself his disinterested friend, in the next, 
uttering wild professions of never-ending attachment. She deplored 
the sacrifice which had been made of her when quite a child to the 


doting passion of Lord Mar, and complained of his want of sym- 
pathy with any of her feehngs. The conclusion of this strange epistle 
told him that the devoted gratitude of all her relations of the house 
of Cummin was ready at any moment to relinquish their claims on 
the crown, to place it on brows so worthy to wear it. 

The words of this letter were artfully and persuasively penned, but 
Wallace felt that the writer would always be, were she even free, not 
merely the last object in his thoughts, but the first in his aversion. 
Therefore, hastily running over her letter, he recurred to a second 
perusal of Lord Mar's, in which he found satisfactory details of the 
success of his dispositions. Lord Loch-awe had possessed himself 
of the western coast of Scotland; Lord Ruthven had met him there, 
having completed the recovery of the Highlands, by a range of con- 
quests; Lord Bothwell, also, as his colleague, had brought from the 
shore of Ross and the hills of Caithness every Southron banner which 
had disgraced their embattled towers. 

Graham was sent for by Wallace to hear these pleasant tidings. 

"Ah!" cried Edwin in triumph, "not a spot north of the Forth 
now remains that does not acknowledge the supremacy of the Scottish 

"Nor south of it, either," returned Graham; "from the Mull of 
Galloway to my gallant father's government on the Tweed; from 
the Cheviots to the northern ocean, all now is our own." 

The private accounts were not less gratifying to Wallace, for he 
found that his plans for disciplining and bringing the people into 
order were everywhere adopted, and that in consequence alarm and 
penury had given way to peace and abundance. To witness the suc- 
cess of his designs, and to settle a dispute between Lord Ruthven and 
the Earl of Athol, relative to the government of Perth, Lord Mar 
strongly urged him to repair immediately to the scene of controversy. 
"Go," added the earl, "through the Lothians and across the Queens- 
ferry, directly into Perthshire. I would not have you come to Stir- 
ling, lest it should be supposed that you are influenced in your 
judgment either by myself or my wife. But I think there cannot 
be a question that Lord Ruthven's services to the great cause invest 
him with a claim which his opponent does not possess. Lord Athol 
has none beyond that of superior rank ; but being the near relation of 
my wife, I believe she is anxious for his elevation. Therefore, come 
not near us if you would avoid female importunity, and spare me the 
pain of hearing what I must condemn." 

Wallace now recollected a passage in Lady Mar's letter which, 
though not speaking out, insinuated how she expected he would de- 


cide. She said, "As your interest is mine, my noble friend, all that 
belongs to me is yours. My kindred are not withheld in the gift 
my devoted heart bestows on you. Use them as your own ; make them 
bulwarks around your power, the defenders of your rights." 

Well pleased to avoid another rencontre with this lady's love and 
ambition, Wallace sent off the substance of these despatches to Mur- 
ray; and next morning, taking a tender leave of the venerable 
Gregory and his family, with Edwin and Sir John Graham he set off 
foi the 'Frith of Forth. 



It was on the eve of St. Nicholas that the boat which contained 
Wallace drew near to the coast of Fife. A little to the right towered 
the tremendous precipice of Kinghorn. 

"Behold, Edwin," said he, "the cause of all our woe! From those 
horrible cliffs fell the best of kings, the good Alexander. My father 
accompanied him in that fatal ride, and was one of the unhappy 
group to find his mangled body amongst the rocks below." 

"I have heard," observed Graham, "that the sage of Ercildown 
prophesied this calamity to Scotland." 

"He did prognosticate," replied Wallace, "that on the eighteenth 
of April a storm should burst over this land which would lay the 
country in ruins. Fear seized the farmers, but his prophecy re- 
garded a nobler object than their harvests. The day came, rose un- 
clouded, and continued perfectly serene. Lord ]March, to whom the 
seer had presaged the event, at noon reproached him with the unlike- 
liness of its completion. But even at the moment he was ridiculing 
the sage, a man on a foaming steed arrived at the gate with tidings 
that the king had accidentally fallen from the precipice of Kinghorn. 
and was killed. 'This,' said the Lord of Ercildown, 'is the dreadful 
tempest which shall long blow calamity and trouble on the realm of 
Scotland.' And surely his words have been verified; for still the 
storm rages around our borders." 

The regent's arrival soon spread throughout the province, and 
the hall of the castle was speedily crowded with chieftains come to 
pay their respects to their benefactor, while grateful peasantry from 
the hills filled the suburbs of the town, begging for one glance only 
of their beloved lord. To oblige them, Wallace mounted his horse, 
and between the Lords Ruthven and Athol. with his bonnet off, rode 
from the castle to the populace-covered plain which lay to the west 
of the city. He gratified their affectionate eagerness by this con- 
descension, and received in return the sincere homage of a thousand 
grateful hearts. 

Ruthven beheld this eloquence of nature with sympathetic feel- 
ings. Wallace had proved himself not only a warrior but a legis- 



lator. In the midst of war he had planted the fruits of peace, and 
now the ohve and the vine waved abundant on every hill. 

Different were the thoughts of the gloomy Athol, as he rode by 
tlie side of the regent. Could he by a look have blasted those valiant 
arms, have palsied that youthful head, whose judgment shamed the 
hoariest temples, gladly would he have made Scotland the sacrifice. 
Thus did he muse, and thus did envy open a way into his soul for 
demons to enter. 

The issue of Ruthven's claims did not lessen Lord Athol's hatred 
of the regent. Wallace simply stated the cause to him, only chang- 
ing the situations of the opponents; he supposed Athol to be in the 
place of Ruthven, and then asked the frowning earl — if Ruthven had 
demanded a government which Athol had bravely won, and nobly 
secured, whether he should deem it just to be sentenced to relinquish 
it into the hands of his rival? By this question he was forced to de- 
cide against himself. He, however, affected to be reconciled to the 
issue of the affair, and taking a friendly leave of the regent retired 
to Blair; and there amongst the numerous fortresses which owned 
his power, he determined to pass his days and nights in devising the 
sure fall of this proud usurper. For so the bitterness of envy im- 
pelled him internally to designate the unpretending Wallace. 

Meanwhile the unconscious object of this hatred bade adieu to the 
warm hospitalities of Hunting-tower, and accompanied by Graham 
and his young friend Edwin, with a small but faithful train, com- 
menced a journey which he intended should comprehend the circuit 
of the Highlands. 

With the chieftain of almost every castle in his progress he passed 
a day, and according to the interest which the situation of the sur- 
rounding peasantry created in his mind, he lengthened his sojourn. 
Everywhere he was welcomed with enthusiasm, and he beheld the 
festivities of Christmas with a delight which recalled past emotions 
till they wrung his heart. 

The hospitable rites of the season being over, the earl accom- 
panied his illustrious guest to make the circuit of Argyleshire. At 
Castle-Urquhardt they parted, and Wallace, proceeding with his two 
friends, performed his visits from sea to sea. Having traversed with 
perfect satisfaction the whole of the northern parts of the kingdom, 
he returned to Hunting-tower on the very morning that a messenger 
had reached it from Murray. That vigilant chieftain informed the 
regent of King Edward's arrival from Flanders, and that he was 
preparing a large army to march into Scotland. 

"We must meet him," cried Wallace, "on his own shores, and so 


let the horrors attending the seat of war fall on the country whose 
king would bring desolation to ours." 

The word was des^^atched from chief to chief to call the clans of 
the Highlands to meet their regent by a certain day in Clydesdale. 
Wallace himself set forward to summon the strength of the Low- 
lands, but at Kinclavin castle, on the coast of Fife, he was surprised 
with another embassy from Edward, a herald, accompanied by that 
Sir Hugh le de Spencer who had conducted himself so insolently 
on his first embassage. 

On his entering the chamber where the regent sat, the two English- 
men walked forward, but before the herald could pay the customary 
respects, Le de Spencer advanced to Wallace and, elated at being 
empowered to insult with impunity, he broke forth: "Sir William 
Wallace, the contumely with which the ambassadors of Prince 
Edward were treated is so resented by the King of England that 
he " 

"Stop, Sir Hugh le de Spencer," cried the herald, touching him 
with his scepter; "whatever may be the denunciations with which our 
sovereign has intrusted you, you must allow me to perform my duty 
before you declare them." 

He then addressed Wallace, and in the king's name accusing him 
of rebellion, promised him pardon for all if he would immediately 
disband his followers and acknowledge his offense. 

Wallace motioned with his hand for his friends to keep silence, 
for he perceived that the most violent were ready to break forth in 
defiance of King Edward; and calmly replied to the herald: "When 
we were desolate your king came to us as a comforter, and he put us 
in chains. While he was absent I invaded his country as an open 
enemy. I rifled your barns, but it was to feed a people whom his 
robberies had left to perish. I leave the people of Nprthumberland 
to judge between me and your monarch. And that he never shall 
be mine, or Scotland's, our deeds shall further prove." 

"Vain determination!" exclaimed Le de Spencer. "King Edward 
comes against you with an army that will reach from sea to sea. The 
sword and the fire shall make a desert of this land; and your head, 
proud Scot, shall bleed upon the scaffold." 

"He shall first see my fires and meet my sword in his own fields," 
returned Wallace; "and if God continue my life, I will keep my 
Easter in England in despite of King Edward and of all who bear 
armor in his country." 

As he spoke he rose from his chair, and bowing his head to the 


herald, the Scottish marshals conducted the ambassadors from his 

Wallace foresaw the heavy tempest to Scotland threatened by 
these repeated embassies. He perceived that Edward, by sending 
overtures which he knew could not be accepted, meant to throw the 
blame of the continuation of hostilities upon the Scots. The same 
policy w^as likewise meant to change the aspect of the Scottish cause 
in the eyes of Philip of France, who had lately sent congratulations 
to the regent on the victory of Cambus-Kenneth. 

To prevent this last inquiry, Wallace despatched a quick-sailing 
vessel with Sir Alexander Ramsay, to inform King Philip of the 
particulars of Edward's proposals, and of the consequent continued 

On the twenty-eighth of February Sir William Wallace joined 
Lord Andrew Murray on Bothwell moor, where he had the happi- 
ness of seeing his brave friend again lord of the domains he had so 
lately lost in the* Scottish cause. 

A strong force from the Highlands joined the troops from Stir- 
ling, and Wallace had the satisfaction of seeing before him thirty 
thousand well-appointed men eager for the fight. Hardly had he 
set forth when he was met by a courier from Sir Roger Kirkpatrick 
with information that the Northumbrians, being apprised of King 
Edward's approach, were assembling in immense bodies, and had 
driven Sir Eustace Maxwell with great loss into Carlaveroch; and, 
though harassed by Kirkpatrick himself, were ravaging the country. 
The letter of the brave knight added, "These Southron thieves blow 
the name of Edward before them, and with its sound have spellbound 
the courage of every soul I meet. Come, then, valiant Wallace, and 
conjure it down again!" 

Wallace made no reply to this message, but proclaiming to his 
men that the enemy were in Dumfriesshire, every foot was put to 
the speed, and in a short time they arrived on the summits of the 
eastern mountains of Clydesdale. His troops halted for rest near 
the village of Biggar, and it being night, he ascended to the top of 
the highest craig and lit a fire, whose far-streaming hght he hoped 
would send the news of his approach to Annandale. The air being 
calm, the signal rose in such a long pyramid of flame that distant 
shouts of rejoicing were heard breaking the deep silence of the hour. 
A moment after a hundred answering beacons burnt along the horizon. 
Torthorald saw the propitious blaze; he showed it to his terrified 
followers." "Behold that hill of fire!" cried he, "and cease to despair." 
—"Wallace comes!" was their response; "and we will do or die!" 


Day broke upon Wallace as he crossed the heights of Drumlanrig-, 
and like a torrent he swept the invaders back upon their steps. He 
took young Percy (leader of this inroad) prisoner, and leaving him 
shut up in Lochmaben, drove his flying vassals far beyond the borders. 

Annandale again free, he went into its various quarters, and sum- 
moning the people (who now crept from their caves and woods to 
shelter under his shield) he reproved them for their cowardice, and 
showed them that unless every man possess a courage equal to his 
general he must expect to fall under the yoke of the enemy. 

Some looked manfully up at this exhortation, but most hung their 
heads in shame, while he continued: "Dishonor not your fathers and 
your trust in God by relying on any one human arm, or doubting that 
from heaven. Partake my spirit, brethren of Annandale, fight as 
stoutly over my grave as by my side, or before the year expires you 
will again be the slaves of Edward." 

Such language, while it covered the fugitives with confusion, 
awoke emulation in all to efface the memory of their disgrace. With 
augmented forces he therefore marched into Cumberland, and having 
drawn up his array between a river and a high ground which he 
covered with archers, he stood prepared to meet the approach of King 

But Edward did not appear till late the next day, and then the 
Scots descried his legions advancing from the horizon to pitch their 
vanguard on the plain of Stanmore. Wallace knew that for the first 
time he was now going to pit his soldiership against that of 
tbf! greatest general in Christendom. 

His present aim was to draw the English towards the Scottish 
lines, where at certain distances he had dug deep pits, and having 
covered them lightly with twigs and loose grass, left them as traps 
for the Southron cavalry, for in cavalry, he was told by his spies, 
would consist the chief strength of Edward's army. Delay was an 
advantage to the Scottish regent, and observing that his enemy held 
back, as if he wished to draw him from his position, he determined^ 
not to stir, although he might seem to be struck with awe of so great' 
an adversary. To this end he offered him peace, hoping either to ob- 
tain what he asked, or by filling Edward with an idea of his fear, 
urge him to precipitate himself forward to avoid the dangers of a 
prolonged sojourn in so barren a country. Instructing his heralds 
what to say, he sent them on to Roycross, near which the tent of the 
King of England was pitched. Supposing that his enemy was now 
at his feet, and ready to beg the terms he had before rejected, Edward 


admitted the ambassadors, and bade them deliver their message. 
\\'ithout further parley the herald spoke. 

"Thus saith Sir William Wallace: 'Were it not that the kings 
and nobles of the realm of Scotland have ever asked redress of injuries 
before they sought revenge, you, King of England, and invader of 
our country, should not now behold orators in your camp persuading 
concord, but an army in battle array advancing to the onset. Our 
lord regent being of the ancient opinion of his renowned predecessors, 
that the greatest victories are never of such advantage to a conqueror 
as an honorable and bloodless peace, sends to offer this peace to you 
at the price of restitution. The lives you have rifled from us you 
cannot restore, but the noble Lord Douglas, whom you now unjustly 
detain a prisoner, we demand, and that you retract those claims on 
our monarchy which never had existence till ambition begot them. 
Grant these just requisitions, and we lay down our arms; but continue 
to deny them, and our nation is ready to rise to a man, and avenge 
the injuries we have sustained. For these William Wallace is in 
arms; but yield us the peace we ask, withdraw from our quarters, 
relinquish your unjust pretensions, and we shall once more consider 
Edward of England as the kinsman of Alexander the Third, and 
his subjects the friends and allies of our realm.' " 

Not in the least moved by this address, Edward contemptuously 
answered, "Intoxicated by success, your leader is vain enough to 
suppose that he can discomfit the King of England, as he has done his 
officers, by insolent words; but we are not so weak as to bear argu- 
ment from a rebel. I come to claim my own ; to assert my supremacy 
over Scotland; and it shall acknowledge its liege lord, or be left a 
desert, without a living creature to say, 'This was a kingdom.' De- 
part; this is my answer to you; your leader shall receive his at the 
point of my lance." 

Wallace, who did not expect a more favorable reply, ere his ambas- 
sadors returned had marshaled his lines for the onset. Lord 
Bothwell, with Murray, his valiant son, took the lead on the left wing; 
Sir Eustace Maxwell and Kirkpatrick commanded on the right. 
Graham, in whose quick observation and promptitude Wallace placed 
the first confidence, held the reserve behind the woods ; and the regent 
himself, with Edwin and his brave standard-bearer, occupied the 
center. Having heard the report of his messengers, he repeated to 
his troops the answer they had brought, and while he stood at the 
head of the lines he exhorted them to remember that on that day the 
eyes of all Scotland would be upon them. They were the first of their 
country who had gone forth to meet the tyrant in a pitched battle. 


and in proportion to the danger they confronted would be their meed 
of glory. 

Though affecting to despise his young opponent, Edward was 
too good a general to contemn an enemy who had so often proved 
himself worthy of respect; and therefore, by declaring his determina- 
tion to put all the Scottish chieftains to death and to transfer their 
estates to his conquering officers, he stimulated their avarice as well 
as love of fame, and with every passion in arms they rushed to the 

Wallace stood unmoved. Not a bow was drawn till the impetuous 
squadrons, in full charge towards the flanks of the Scots, fell into 
the pits; then it was that the Highland archers on the hill launched 
their arrows; the plunging horses were instantly overwhehned by 
others, who could not be checked in their career. A confusion ensued 
so perilous that the king thought it necessary to precipitate himself 
forward, and in person attack the main body of his adversary, which 
yet stood inactive. Giving the spur to his charger, he ordered his 
troops to press on over the struggling heaps before them; and being 
obeyed, with much difficulty and great loss he passed the first range 
of pits, but a second and a wider awaited him; and there seeing his 
men sink into them by squadrons, he beheld the whole army of Wal- 
lace close in upon them. Terrific was now the havoc. The very 
numbers of the Southrons, and tlie mixed discipline of their army, 
proved its bane. In the tumult they hardly understood the orders 
which were given; and some mistaking them, acted so contrary to 
the intended movements, that Edward, galloping from one end of 
the field to the other, appeared, regardless of every personal danger, 
so that he could but fix others to front death with himself. His officers 
trembled at every step he took, for fear that some of the secret pits 
should ingulf him. However, the courage of their monarch rallied 
a part of the distracted army, which, with all the force of desperation, 
he drove against the center of the Scots. But at this juncture the 
reserve under Graham, having turned the royal position, charged 
him in the rear; and the archers redoubling their discharge of artillery, 
the Flanderkins, who were in the van of Edward, suddenly giving 
way, the amazed king found himself obliged to retreat or run the risk 
of being taken. He gave a signal, the first of the kind he had ever 
sounded in his Hfe, and drawing his English troops around him after 
much hard fighting fell back in tolerable order beyond the confines 
of his camp. 

The Scots were eager to pursue him, but Wallace checked the 
motion. "Let us not hunt the lion till he stand at bay," cried he. 

ibiier's Sons 

KiiKj Edward 


"He will retire far enough from tlie Scottish borders without our 
leaving this vantage-ground to drive him." 

What Wallace said came to pass. Soon no vestige of a Southron 
soldier but the dead which strewed the road was to be seen from side 
to side of the wide horizon. The royal camp was immediately seized 
by the triumphant Scots, and the tent of King Edward, with its costly 
furniture, was sent to Stirling as a trophy of the victory. 



Many chieftains from the north had drawn to Stirhng to be near in- 
telhgence from the borders. They were aware that this meeting be- 
tween Wallace and Edward must be the crisis of their fate. They 
had seen the prowess of their leader, they had shared the glory of his 
destiny, and they feared not that Edward would deprive him of one 
ray. But they who at the utmost wilds of the Highlands had only 
heard his fame, doubted how his fortunes might stand the shock of 
Edward's happy star. The lords whom he had released from the 
Southron prisons were all of the same opinion, for they knew what 
numbers Edward could bring against the Scottish power, and how 
hitherto unrivaled was his skill in the field. "Now," thought Lord 
Badenoch, "will this brave Scot find the difference between fighting 
with the officers of a king and a king himself!" Full of this idea, 
and resolving never to fall into the hands of Edward again, he kept 
a vessel in readiness at the mouth of the Forth to take him, as soon 
as the news of the regent's defeat should arrive, to a quiet asylum in 

The meditations of Athol, Buchan, and March were of a different 
tendency. It was their design on the earliest intimation of such in- 
telligence to set forth and be the first to throw themselves at the feet 
of Edward, and acknowledge him their sovereign. Thus, with various 
projects in their heads, which none but the three last breathed to each 
other, were several hundred expecting chiefs assembled round the Earl 
of IMar, when Edwin Ruthven, glowing with his general's glory and 
his own, rushed into the hall, and throwing the royal standard of 
England on the ground, exclaimed, "There lies the supremacy of 
King Edward!" 

Every man started on his feet. "You do not mean," cried Athol, 
"that King Edward has been beaten?" — "He has been beaten, and 
driven off the field," returned Edwin. "These despatches," added he, 
laying them on the table before his uncle, "will relate every particular. 
A hard battle our regent fought, for our enemies were numberless; 
but a thousand good angels were his allies; and Edward himself fled. 
I saw the king after he had thrice rallied his troops, and brought them 



to the charge, at last turn and fly. It was at that moment I wounded 
his standard-bearer and seized this dragon." 

Lord Mar, who had stood in speechless gratitude, opened the des- 
patches, and finding a narrative of the battle, with accounts of the 
previous embassies, he read them aloud. Their contents excited a 
variety of emotions. When the nobles heard Edward had offered 
Wallace the crown, and when in the same breath they read that 
their regent had refused royalty, and was now, as a servant of the 
people, preparing to strengthen their borders, the most extravagant 
suspicions awoke in almost every breast. A dead silence reigned, 
while the demon of hatred was taking possession of the chiefs; and 
none but the Lords Mar, Badenoch, and Loch-awe escaped the black 

When the meeting broke up. Lord Mar placed himself at the head 
of the officers of the garrison, and with a herald holding the banner 
of Edward beneath the colors of Scotland, rode forth to proclaim to 
the country the decisive victory of its regent. Badenoch and Loch- 
awe left the hall to hasten with the tidings to Snawdoun. The rest 
of the chiefs dispersed, but as if actuated by one spirit, they were seen 
wandering about the outskirts of the town, where they soon drew to- 
gether in groups and whispered among themselves: "He refused the 
crown offered to him in the field by the people; he rejected it from 
Edward because he would reign uncontrolled. If we are to be slaves, 
let us have a tyrant of our own choosing." 

As the trumpets before Lord ]Mar blew the acclaim of triumph, 
Athol said to Buchan, "Cousin, that is but the forerunner of what 
we shall hear to announce the usurpation of this Wallace, and shall 
we sit tamely by and have our birthright wrested from us by a man 
of yesterday? No; if the race of Alexander be not to occupy the 
throne, let us not hesitate between the monarch of a mighty nation 
and a low-born tyrant!" 

Murmurings such as these passing from chief to chief, descended 
to the minor chieftains. Petty interests extinguished gratitude, and 
by secret meetings, at the heads of which were Athol, Buchan, and 
March, a conspiracy was formed to overset the power of Wallace. 
They were to invite Edward once more to take possession of the king- 
dom, and meanwhile, to accomplish this with certainty, each chief 
was to assume a zeal for the regent. 

Such suggestions met with full approval from these dark incen- 
diaries, and as their meetings were usually held at night, they walked 
forth in the day with cheerful countenances and joined the general 


They feared to hint even a word of their intentions to Lord Bade- 
noch, for on Buchan having expressed some discontent to him at the 
homage that was paid to a man so much their inferior, his answer was, 
"Had we acted worthy of our birth, Sir Wilham Wallace never could 
have had the opportunity to rise upon our disgrace; but as it is, we 
must submit, or bow to treachery instead of virtue." This reply 
determined them to keep their proceedings secret from him, and also 
from Lady Mar, for both Lord Buchan and Lord Athol had, at 
diiFerent times, listened to the fond dreams of her love and ambition. 

Thus were they situated when the news of Wallace's decisive vic- 
tory, placing him at the pinnacle of power, determined the dubious 
to become at once his mortal enemies. Lord Badenoch had listened 
with a different temper to the first breathings of Lady Mar on her 
favorite subject, but now he made no hesitation to be the first who 
should go to Snawdoun to communicate to her the brilliant despatches 
of the regent, and to declare the freedom of Scotland to be now almost 
secured. He and Lord Loch-awe set forth, but they had been some 
time preceded by Edwin. 

The moment the countess heard the name of her nephew an- 
nounced she made a sign for her ladies to withdraw, and starting 
forward at his entrance, "Speak!" cried she; "tell me, Edwin, is the 
regent still a conqueror?" — "Where are my mother and Helen," re- 
plied he, "to share my tidings?" — "Then they are good!" exclaimed 
Lady Mar, with one of her bewitching smiles. "Ah! you sly one, 
like your chief you know your power." — "And like him I exercise 
it," replied he, gaily; "therefore, to keep your ladyship no longer in 
suspense, here is a letter from the regent himself." He presented it 
as he spoke, and she, catching it from him, and pressing it rapturously 
to her lips, eagerly ran over its brief contents. While reperusing it, 
Lady Ruthven and Helen entered the room. The former hastened 
forward ; the latter trembled as she moved, for she did not yet know 
the information which her cousin brought. But the first glance of 
his face told her all was safe, and as he broke from his mother's em- 
brace to clasp Helen in his arms, she fell upon his neck, and whispered, 
"Wallace lives? Is well?" — "As you would wish him," answered he; 
"and with Edward at his feet."— "Thank God, thank God!" While 
she spoke. Lady Ruthven exclaimed, "But how is our regent? Speak, 
Edwin!" — "Still the lord of Scotland," answered he; "the puissant 
Edward has acknowledged the power of Sir William Wallace, and 
after being beaten on the plain of Stanmore, is now making the best 
of his way towards his own capital." 

"The regent does not mention these matters in his letter to me," 


said Lady Mar, casting an exulting glance over the glowing face of 
Helen. But Helen did not notice it, she was listening to Edwin, who 
related every particular that had befallen Wallace, from the time of 
his rejoining him to that very moment. The countess heard all with 
complacency till he mentioned the issue of the conference with 
Edward's first ambassadors. "Fool!" exclaimed she to herself, "to 
throw away the golden opportunity that may never return." Not ob- 
serving her disturbance, Edwin went on with his narrative, every word 
of which spread the countenance of Helen with admiration. 

In such a frame of mind did she listen to the relation of Edwin, 
did she welcome the entrance of Badenoch and Loch-awe, and their 
encomiums on the lord of her heart. Then sounded the trumpet, and 
the herald's voice in the streets proclaimed the victory of the regent. 
Lady Mar rushed to the window, as if there she would see himself. 
Lady Ruthven followed; and, as the acclamations of the people echoed 
through the air, Helen pressed the precious cross of Wallace to her 
bosom, and hastily left the room to enjoy the rapture of her thoughts. 

In the course of a few days it was announced that the regent was 
on his return to Stirling. Lady Mar was not so inebriated with her 
hopes as to forget that Helen might traverse the dearest of them 
should she again present herself to its object. She therefore hastened 
to her when the time of his expected arrival drew near, and putting 
on all the matron, affected to give her the counsel of a mother, saying 
that she came to advise her, in consideration of what had passed in 
the chapel before the regent's departure, not to submit herself to the 
observation of so many eyes. Not suspecting the devices which worked 
in her stepmother's heart, Helen meekly acquiesced, with the reply, 
"I shall obey." But she inwardly thought, "I, who know the heroism 
of his soul, need not pageants nor acclamations of the multitude to 
tell me what he is." 

The "obey" was sufficient for Ladj^ Mar; she had gained her point. 
For though she did not seriously think that anything more had passed 
between Wallace and Helen than what they had openly declared, 
yet she could not but discern the harmonj^ of their minds. Lady JNIar 
had understanding to perceive his virtues, but they found no answer- 
ing qualities in her breast. The matchless beauty of his person, the 
splendor of his fame, the magnitude of his power, — all united to set 
her impassioned and ambitious soul in a blaze. Education had not 
given her any principle by which she might have checked the impulse 
of her now aroused passions. Brought up as a worshiped object in 
the little court of her parents at Kirkwall, in the Orkneys (her father, 
the Earl of Strathern, in Scotland, and her mother being a princess 


of Norway, whose dowry brought him the sovereignty of those isles), 
their daughter never knew any law but her own will; and on the loss 
of that mother, the bereaved daughter fell into such a despair that 
her father (whose little dominions happened then to be menaced by 
a descent of the Danes) sought a safe home for his only child by send- 
ing her over sea to the protecting care of his friend, the Earl of Mar, 
and to his lovely countess, then an only three years' wife, with one 
infant daughter. Though fond of admiration, the young Joanna 
of Orkney had held herself at too high a price to bestow a thought 
on the crowd of rough sons of the surge that surrounded her. But 
when she crossed to the mainland, and found herself by the side of a 
woman almost as young as herself, and equally beautiful and that the 
husband of that woman, though of veteran years, was handsomer than 
any man she had ever seen, — she felt, what she had never done before, 
that she had met a rival and an ob j ect worthy to subdue. 

What Joanna began in mere excited vanity, ended in a fatal at- 
tacliment to the husband of her innocent protectress. And he, alas! 
betrayed by her overpowering demonstrations of devoted love, was 
so far won from the propriety of his noble heart as to regard with 
admiration the beautiful victim of a passion he had so unwittingly 
raised. In the midst of these scenes, too often acted for his peace, 
his beloved Isabella, the wife of his bosom, died breathing her last sigh 
in the birth of a daughter. Scarcely was the countess consigned to 
her bed of earth, when the desperate Joanna rushed into the weeping 
husband's presence, fearful of being now reclaimed by her father, 
who had, only a short while before, intimated his intention to send a 
vessel for his daughter to bring her back to Kirkwall, there to be 
united in marriage to the brave native chieftain whose prowess had 
preserved the island from a Danish yoke. Dreading this event, even 
while her tears mingled with those of the widowed Mar, she wrought 
on him by protestations of a devoted love for his two infant orphans 
(Helen, then a child of hardly two years, and the poor babe whose 
existence had just cost its mother her life) to rescue her from her now- 
threatened fate, even to give her his vow to wed her himself. In a 
sudden agony of self-blame Lord Mar assented to her supplication, 
that, as soon as propriety would permit, she should become his wife. 

The Earl of Strathern arrived himself within the week, to condole 
with his friend and to take back his daughter, but the scene he met 
changed his ultimate purpose. Joanna declared that were she to be 
carried away to marry any man save that friend whose protection dur- 
ing the last six months had been everything to her, she should expire on 
ih" threshold of Castle Braemer, for she never would cross it alive! 


And as the melancholy widower, but grateful lover, verified his vow to 
her by repeating it to her father, — within four months from that day 
the Earl of JNIar rejoined the Lady Joanna at Kirkwall, and brought 
her away as his bride. Soon after her marriage she took the Lady 
Helen, the supplanted Isabella's first-born daughter, from her grand- 
father, at Thirlestane, where both children had been left on the depar- 
ture of their father and his bride for France. Though hardly past the 
period of absolute childhood, the Lord Soulis at this time offered the 
young heiress of Mar his hand. The countess had then no interest 
in wishing the union ; having not yet any children of her own to make 
her jealous for their father's love, she permitted her daughter-in- 
law to decide as she pleased. A second time he presented himself, and 
Lady Mar, still indifferent, allowed Helen a second time to refuse 

Years flew over the heads of the ill- joined pair; but while they 
whitened the raven locks of the earl, the beauty of his countess blew 
into fuller luxuriance. Such was her state when she first heard of 
the rise of Sir William Wallace, and when she thought that her hus- 
band might not only lose his life, but risk the forfeiture of his family 
honors by joining him, for her own sake and for her children, she had 
then determined, if it were necessary, to make the outlawed chief a 
sacrifice. To this end she became willing to bribe Soulis's participa- 
tion by the hand of Helen. She had never felt what real love was, 
and her vanity being no longer agitated, she now lived tranquilly 
with Lord INIar. What, then, was her astonishment when she first 
beheld Sir William Wallace, and found in her breast for him all which 
she had ever felt for her lord, with the addition of sentiments the 
existence of which she had never believed! The prolonged life of Lord 
Mar cost her many tears, for the passions of her nature, which she 
had laid asleep on her marriage with the earl, broke out with redoubled 
violence at the sight of Wallace. His was the most perfect of manly 
forms — and she loved; he was great — and her ambition blazed into 
an inextinguishable flame. Her husband was abhorred, her infant 
son forgotten, and nothing but Wallace and a crown could find a 
place in her thoughts. 

The few chieftains who had remained on their estates before the 
battle of Stanmore from a belief that if the issue proved unfavorable 
they should be safest amongst their native glens, now came to greet 
the return of their victorious regent. The ladies brought forth their 
most splendid apparel; and the houses of Stirling were hung with 
tapestry, to hail with due respect the benefactor of the land. 

At last the hour arrived when a messenger, whom Lord Mar had 


sent out for the purpose, returned on full speed with information 
that the regent was passing the Carron. At these tidings the old earl 
called out his retinue, mounted his coal-black steed, and ordered a 
sumptuous charger to be caparisoned with housings wrought in gold 
by the hands of Lady Mar and her ladies. The horse was intended 
to meet Wallace and to bring him into the city. Edwin led it for- 
ward. In the rear of the Earls Mar and Badenoch came all 
the chieftains of the country in gallant array. Their ladies, on 
splendid palfreys, followed the superb car of the Countess of Mar, 
and preceding the multitudes of Stirling left the town a desert. Not 
a living being seemed now within its walls excepting the Southron 
prisoners, who had assembled on the top of the citadel to view the 
return of their conqueror. 

Helen remained in Snawdoun, believing that she was the only soul 
left in that vast palace. The distant murmur of the populace throng- 
ing out of the streets towards the carse gradually subsided, and at 
last she was left in profound silence. "He must be near," thougjht 
she; "he whose smile is more precious to me than the adulation of all 
the world besides now smiles upon every one. All look upon him, 

all hear him, but I — and I Ah, Wallace, did jMarion love thee 

dearer?" As her heart demanded this question, she hid her face in 
her hands. A pause of a few minutes, and a sound as if the skies 
were rent tore the air; a noise like the distant roar of the sea suc- 
ceeded, and soon after the shouts of an approaching multitude shook 
the palace to its foundations. At this instant every bell in the city 
began its peals, and the door of Helen's room opened. Lady Ruthven 
hurried in. "Helen," cried she, "I would not disturb you before, but 
as you were to be absent, I would not make one in Lady IMar's train, 
and I come to enjoy with you the return of our beloved regent." 

Helen did not speak, but her countenance told her aunt what were 
the emotions of her heart; and Lady Ruthven, taking her hand, at- 
tempted to draw her towards a window which opened on the High 
street, but Helen begged to be excused. "I hear enough," said she, 
"my dear aunt. Sights like these overcome me; let me remain where 
I am." 

Lady Ruthven was going to remonstrate when the loud huzzas 
of the people and soldiers, accompanied by acclamations of "Long live 
victorious Wallace, our prince and king!" struck Helen back into 
her seat, and Lady Ruthven, darting towards the window, cried aloud, 
"He comes, Helen, he comes! His bonnet off his noble brow. Oh, 
how princely does he look! — and now he bows. Ah, they shower 


flowers upon liim from the houses on each side of the street! Come, 
Helen, come!" 

Helen did not move, but Lady Ruthven, stretching out her arm, 
in a moment had drawn her within view of Wallace. She saw him 
attended as a conqueror and a king, but with the eyes of a benefactor 
and a brother. She drew a quick sigh, and, closing her eyes, dropped 
against the arras : she distinguished nothing, her senses were in tumult ; 
and had not Lady Ruthven seen her disorder she would have fallen 
motionless to the floor. The matron was not so forgetful of the feel- 
ings of a youthful heart not to have discovered something of what was 
passing in that of her niece. From the moment in which she had 
suspected that Wallace had made a serious impression there, she 
dropped all trifling with his name. And now that she saw the dis- 
tressing effects of that impression, she took the fainting Helen in 
her arms, and laying her on a couch, restored her to recollection. When 
the noise of the populace died away Helen raised her head, and said, 
with a forced smile, "My more than mother, fear me not! I am grate- 
ful to Sir Wijliam Wallace; I venerate him as the Southrons do their 
St. George, but I need not your tender pity." As she spoke her 
beautiful lip quivered, but her voice was steady. "My sweetest 
Helen," replied Lady Ruthven, "how can I pity her for whom I hope 
everything!" — "Hope nothing for me," returned Helen, understand- 
ing by her looks what her tongue had left unsaid, "but to see me a 
vestal here and a saint in heaven." 

The holy composure which spread over the countenance of Helen 
as she uttered this seemed to extend itself to the mind of Lady Ruth- 
ven; she pressed her tenderly in her arms, and kissing her, "Gentlest 
of human beings!" cried she, "whatever be thy lot it must be happy." 

Far different were the emotions which agitated the bosoms of every 
person present at the entry of Sir William Wallace. All but himself 
regarded it as the triumph of the king of Scotland. And while some 
of the nobles exulted in their future monarch, the major part felt the 
demon of envy so possess their souls that they who, before his arrival, 
were ready to worship his name, now looked on the empire to which 
he seemed borne on the hearts of the people with a jealousy which 
from that moment vowed his humiliation or the fall of Scotland. 

Those ladies who had not retired from the cavalcade to hail their 
regent a second time from their windows, preceded him in Lady Mar's 
train to the hall, where she had caused a sumptuous feast to be spread 
to greet his arrival. Two seats were placed under a canopy of cloth 
of gold at the head of the board. The countess stood there in all 
the splendor of her ideal rank, and would have seated Wallace in 


the royal chair on her right hand, bvit he drew back. "I am only a 
guest in this citadel," returned he, "and it would ill become me to take 
the place of the master of the banquet." As he spoke he looked on 
Lord IMar, who without a word took the kingly seat, and so disap- 
pointed the countess. By this refusal she still found herself as no more 
than the governor of Stirling's wife, when she had hoped a compli- 
ance with her arrangement would have hinted to all that she was to 
be the future queen of their acknowledged sovereign. 

As the ladies took their seats at the board, Edwin, who stood by 
the chair of his beloved lord, whispered, "Our Helen is not here." 

Lady Mar overheard the name of Helen, but she could not dis- 
tinguish Wallace's reply, and fearing that some second assignation 
of more happy termination than that of the chapel might be designed, 
she determined that if Edwin were to be the bearer of a secret corre- 
spondence between the man she loved and the daughter she hated, to 
deprive them speedily of so ready an assistant. 



In collected council the following day the Earl of March made his 
treacherous request, and Wallace, trusting his vehement oaths of 
fidelity, granted him charge of the Lothians. The Lords Athol and 
Buchan were not backward in offering their services to the regent, 
and the rest of the discontented nobles, with equal deceit, bade him 
command their lives and fortunes. While asseverations of loyalty 
filled the walls of the council-hall, and the rejoicings of the people 
still sounded from without, all spoke of security and confidence to 
Wallace; and never, perhaps, did he think himself so absolute in the 
heart of Scotland as at the very moment when three-fourths of its 
nobility were plotting his destruction. 

Lord Loch-awe knew his own influence in the minds of the bravest 
chieftains, and previous to the regent's appearance in the council-hall 
he opened his intentions to the assembled lords. Some assented with 
satisfaction, the rest acquiesced in what they had laid so sure a plan 
to circumvent. 

Wallace soon after entered. Loch-awe rising, stood forth before 
him, and in a persuasive speech once more declared the wishes of the 
nation, that he would strike the decisive blow on the pretensions of 
Edward by himself accepting the crown. The Bishop of Dunkeld, 
with the most animated devotion to the interest of Scotland, seconded 
the petition. Mar and Bothwell enforced it. The disaffected lords 
thought proper to throw in their conjurations also, and every voice 
but that of Badenoch poured forth entreaties that he, their liberator, 
would grant the supplication of the nation. 

Wallace rose, and every tongue was mute. "My gratitude to 
Scotland increases with my life, but my answer must still be the same 
— I cannot be its king." 

At these words the venerable Loch-awe threw himself on his knees 
before him. "In my person," cried he, "see Scotland at your feet! 
still bleeding with the effects of former struggles. She has no more 
arguments to utter; these are her prayers, and thus I offer them." 

"Kneel not to me, brave Loch-awe!" cried Wallace. "Were I 
to comply with your wishes I should disobey Him who has hitherto 



made me His agent. Your rightful king lives; he is an alien from 
his country, but Heaven may return him to your prayers. My an- 
cestors were ever faithful to the blood of Alexander, and in the same 
fidelity I will die." 

The firmness with which he spoke convinced Loch-awe that he 
was not to be shaken, and rising from his knee he bowled in silence. 
March whispered to Buchan, "Behold the hypocrite! But we shall 
unmask him!" 

When the council broke up, these sentiments were disseminated 
amongst the disaffected throng, and each recess in the woods mur- 
mured with seditious meetings. But every lip in the country at large 
breathed the name of Wallace, while the land that he had blessed 
bloomed on every hill and valley like a garden. 

Stirling now exhibited a constant carnival; peace was in every 
heart, and joy its companion. As Wallace had commanded in the 
field he decided in the judgment-hall; and while all his behests were 
obeyed with a promptitude which kept the machine of state constantly 
moving in order, his bitterest enemies could not but secretly acknowl- 
edge the perfection they were determined to destroy. 

The good abbot of Scone was invited from his hermitage, and when 
he heard from the ambassadors sent to him that the young warrior 
whom he had entertained was Wallace, he no longer thought of the 
distant Bruce, but centered every wish for his country in the authority 
of her deliverer. A few days brought him to Stirling, and wishing 
to remain near his noble friend, he requested that instead of being 
restored to Scone he might be installed in the vacant monastery of 
Cambus-Kenneth. Wallace gladly acquiesced; and the venerable 
abbot, being told that his late charge, the Lady Helen, was in the 
palace, went to visit her, and as he communicated his happiness, she 
rejoiced in the benedictions which he invoked on the head of her al- 
most worshiped sovereign. 

During the performance of these things the Countess of Mar was 
absorbed in the one great object of her passion. Eager to be rid of 
so dangerous a spy as she deemed Edwin to be, she was laboring day 
and night to effect his banishment, when an unforeseen circumstance 
carried him far away. Lord Ruthven, while on an embassy to the 
Hebrides, fell ill. As his disorder was attended with extreme dan- 
ger, he sent for his wife; and Edwin, impelled by love for his father 
and anxiety for his mother, readily left the side of his friend to ac- 
company her to the isles. Lady Mar had now no scnitinizing eye 
to fear ; her nephew Murray was still on duty in Clydesdale ; the earl 


her husband trusted her imphcitly, and Helen, she contrived, snould 
be as little in her presence as possible. 

Busy, then, as this lady was, the enemies of the regoit were not 
less active in the prosecution of their plans. The Earl of March 
had arrived at Dunbar, and having despatched his treasonable pro- 
posals to Edward, had received letters from that monarch by sea, 
accepting his services, and promising every reward that could satisfy 
his ambition. The wary king then told the earl that if he would send 
his wife and family to London as hostages for his faith, he was ready 
to bring a mighty army to Dunbar, and by that gate once more enter 
Scotland. These negotiations from London to Dunbar, and from 
Dunbar to the treacherous lords at Stirling, occupied much time, and 
the more as great precaution was necessary to escape the vigilant eyes 
of Wallace. 

From the time that Edward had again entered into terms with 
the Scottish chiefs, Lord March sent regular tidings to Lord Soulis 
of the progress of their negotiation. He knew that nobleman would 
gladly welcome the recall of the King of England. Chagrin at having 
lost Helen was not the least of his mortifications, and the wounds he 
had received from the hand which had released her were not even 
now healed, thus their smart made his vengeance burn the fiercer 
against Wallace, who he now learnt was the mysterious agent of her 

While treason secretly prepared to spring its mine beneath the 
feet of the regent, he, unsuspicious that any could be discontented 
M'here all were free and prosperous, thought of no enemy to the fulfil- 
ment of his duties but the persecutions of Lady Mar. No day escaped 
without bringing him letters either to invite him to Snawdoun, or 
to lead her to the citadel where he resided. In every one of these 
epistles she declared that it was no longer the wildness of passion which 
impelled her to seek his society, but the moderated regard of a friend. 
And though aware of all that was behind these asseverations, he 
found himself forced at times out of the civility due to her sex to 
comply with her invitations. 

Things were in this situation when Wallace, one night, received 
a hasty summons by a page of Lord Mar's, requesting him to imme- 
diately repair to his chamber. Concluding that something alarming 
must have happened, he threw on his plaid and entered the apartments 
of the governor. Mar met him with a countenance the herald of a 
dreadful matter. "What has happened?" inquired Wallace. — "Trea- 
son," answered Mar, "but from what point I cannot guess. My 
daughter has braved a dark and lonely walk from Snawdoun to bring 


the proofs." While speaking he led the chief into the room where 
Helen sat like some fair specter of the night, her long hair, mingling 
with the gray folds of the mantle which enveloped her. Wallace 
hastened forward. She now no longer flitted away, scared from his 
approach by the frowning glances of her stepmother. Now he beheld 
her in a presence where he could declare all his gratitude without 
subjecting her to one harsh word in consequence, and almost forgetting 
the tidings he had just heard, he remembered only the manner in 
which she had shielded his life with her arms, and he bent his knee 
respectfully before her as she rose to his approach. Blushing and 
silent she extended her hand to him to rise. He pressed it warmly. 
"Sweet excellence!" said he, "I am happy in this opportunity again 
to pour out my acknowledgments to you." 

"It is my happiness as well as my duty. Sir William Wallace," 
replied she, "to regard you and my country as one, and that, I hope, 
will excuse the perhaps rash action of this night." As she spoke, 
he rose and looked at Lord Mar for explanation. 

The earl held a roll of vellum towards him. "This writing," said 
he, "was found this evening by my daughter. She was enjoying with 
my wife and other ladies a moonlight walk on the shores of the Forth 
behind the palace, when, having strayed at some distance from her 
friends, she saw this packet lying in the path before her as if it had 
been just dropped. It bore no direction; she therefore opened it, 
and part of the contents soon told her she must conceal the whole 
till she could reveal them to me. Not even to my wife did she intrust 
the dangerous secret, nor would she run any risk by sending it by a 
messenger. As soon as the family were gone to rest she wrapped 
herself in her plaid and made her way to me. She gave me the packet. 
Read it, my friend, and judge if we have not made a critical dis- 

Wallace took the scroll and read it as follows: 

"Our trusty fellows will bring you this, and deliver copies of the 
same to the rest. We shall be with you in four-and-twenty hours 
after it arrives. The army of our liege lord is now in the Lothians, 
passing through them under the appellation of succors for the regent 
from the Hebrides. Keep all safe, and neither himself nor any of 
his adherents shall have a head on their shoulders by this day week." 

Neither superscription, name, nor date was to this letter, but Wal- 
lace immediately knew the handwriting to be that of Lord March. 
"Then we must have traitors even within these walls!" exclaimed Mar; 
"none but the most powerful chiefs would the proud Cospatrick admit 


into his conspiracies. And what are we to do? for by to-morrow's 
evening the army this traitor has let into the heart of the country will 
be at our gates." 

"No!" cried Wallace; "thanks to God and this guardian angel," 
fervently clasping Helen's hand as he spoke, "we must not be intimi- 
dated by treachery! Let us but be faithful to ourselves and all will 
go well. Sound your bugles, my lord, to summon the heads of our 

At this command Helen arose, but replaced herself in her chair 
on Wallace exclaiming, "Stay, Lady Helen; let the sight of such 
delicacy, braving the terrors of the night to warn betrayed Scotland, 
nerve every heart with redoubled courage !" Wallace often turned to 
look on her, while her eyes, unconscious of the admiration which spoke 
in their beams, followed his god-like figure as it moved through the 

The Lords Bothwell, Loch-awe, and Badenoch were the first that 
obeyed the call. They started at sight of Helen, but Wallace in a 
few words related the cause of her appearance, and the letter was 
laid before them. All were acquainted with the handwriting of Lord 
March, and all agreed in attributing to its real motive his solicitude 
to obtain the command of the Lothians. "What," cried Bothwell, 
"but to open his castle-gates to the enemy!" 

"And to repel him before he reaches ours, my brave chiefs," re- 
plied Wallace. "Edward will not make this attempt without tre- 
mendous powers. Lose not, then, a moment; even to-night, go out 
and bring in your followers. I will call up mine from the banks of 
the Clyde, and be ready to meet him ere he crosses the Carron." 

While he gave these orders other nobles thronged in; and Helen, 
being severally thanked by them all, became so agitated, that, stretch- 
ing out her hands to Wallace, who was nearest to her, she softly 
whispered, "Take me hence." He read in her face the oppression 
her modesty sustained in such a scene, and with faltering steps she 
leaned upon his arm as he conducted her to an interior chamber. Over- 
come by the emotions of the last hour, she sank into a chair and burst 
into tears. Wallace stood near her, and as he looked on her he thought, 
"If aught on earth ever resembled the beloved of my soul, it is Helen 
Mar!" She raised her head, she felt that look; it thrilled to her soul. 
Was she then beloved? 

The impression was evanescent. "No, no!" said she to herself; 
and waving her hand gently, "Leave me. Sir A^^'illiam Wallace. For- 
give me, but my frame is weaker than my mind." She spoke this at 


intervals, and Wallace respectfully touching the hand she extended, 
pressed it to his breast. "I obey you, dear Lad}^ Helen, and when 
next we meet, it will, I hope, be to dispel every fear in that gentle 
bosom." She bowed her head without looking up, and Wallace left 
the room. 



Before the sun rose every brave Scot within a few hours' march of 
Stirling was on the carse, and Lord Andrew Murray, with his Clydes- 
dale men, were already resting on their arms in view of the city walls. 
The messengers of Wallace had hastened with the speed of the winds 
east and west, and the noon of the day saw him at the head of thirty 
thousand men, determined to fight or to die for their country. 

The surrounding landscape shone in the brightness of midsum- 
mer, for sky and earth bore witness to the luxuriant month of July. 
The heavens were clear, the waters of the Forth danced in the sun- 
beams, and the green of the extended plain stretched its borders to 
the deepening woods. All nature smiled; all seemed in harmony and 
peace but the breast of man. 

When the conspiring lords appeared on the carse, and Mar com- 
municated to them the lately discovered treason, they so well affected 
surprise at the contents of the scroll that Wallace might not have 
suspected their connection with it had not Lord Athol declared it 
altogether a forgery and then added with bitterness, "To gather an 
army on such authority is ridiculous." While he spoke Wallace re- 
garded him with a look which pierced him to the center, and the blood 
rushing into his guilty heart, for once in his life he trembled before 
the eye of man. "Whoever be the degenerate Scot to whom this writ- 
ing is addressed," said Wallace, "his baseness cannot betray us further. 
The troops of Scotland are ready to meet the enemy; and woe to 
the man who that day deserts his country!" — "Amen!" cried Lord 
Mar, and "Amen!" sounded from every lip. 

Badenoch's eye followed that of Wallace, and his suspicions fixed 
where the regent's fell. For the honor of his blood he forbore to 
accuse the earl, but he determined to watch his proceedings. How- 
ever, the hypocrisy of Athol baffled even the penetration of his 
brother; and on his retiring from the ground to call forth his men 
for the expedition, he complained to Badenoch of the stigma cast upon 
their house by the regent's implied charge. "But," said he, "he shall 
see the honor of the Cummin emblazoned in blood. His pride heeds 
not where it strikes, and this comes of raising men of low estate to 



rule over princes." — "His birth is noble, if not royal," replied Baden- 
och; "and before this the posterity of kings have not disdained to 
recover their rights by the sword of a brave subject." — "True," an- 
swered Athol, "but is it customary for princes to allow that subject 
to sit on their throne? It is nonsense to talk of Wallace having re- 
fused a coronation. He laughs at the name, but he is absolute and 
there is no voice in Scotland but his own. Can you behold this, Lord 
Badenoch, and not find the royal blood of your descent boil in your 
veins? Humble him, my brother; be faithful to Scotland, but humble 
its proud dictator!" 

Lord Badenoch replied to this exhortation with the tranquillity 
belonging to his nature. "I see not the least foundation for any of 
your charges against Sir William Wallace. The nation with one voice 
made him their regent, and he fulfils the duties of his office with 
modesty, which I never saw equaled. I dissent from you in all that 
you have said, and I fear the blandishing arguments of the faithless 
Cospatrick have persuaded you to embrace his treason. You deny it; 
that is well. Prove your innocence in the field against Scotland's 
enemies, and John of Badenoch will then see no cloud to darken the 
honor of the name of Cummin." 

The brothers immediately separated; and Athol, calling his cousin 
Buchan, arranged a new device to counteract the vigilance of the 
regent. One of their means was to baffle his measures by stimulating 
the discontented chiefs to thwart him in every motion. At the head 
of this last class was John Stewart, Earl of Bute. Aware of the con- 
sequence Stewart's name would attach to any cause, Athol had gained 
his ear before he was introduced to the regent ; and then poisoned his 
mind against Wallace. 

While Athol marshaled his rebellious ranks, some to follow his 
treason in the face of day, and others to lurk behind and delude the 
council left in Stirling, Wallace led forth his royal chiefs to take their 
stations at the heads of their different clans. Sir Alexander 
Scrymgeour, with the proudest expectations for Scotland, unfurled 
his golden standard to the sun. The Lords Loch-awe and Bothwell, 
with others, rode on to the right of the regent. Lord Andrew Murray, 
with the brave Sir John Graham, and a bevy of young knights, kept 
the ground on his left. Wallace looked around ; Edwin was far away, 
and he felt but half -appointed when wanting his youthful sword- 

As the regent moved forward, his heralds blew the trumpets of 
his approach, and a hundred embattled clans appeared in the midst 


of the plain awaiting their leaders. Each chief advanced to the head 
of his line and stood to hear the charge of Wallace. 

"Brave Scots!" cried he, "Treachery has admitted the enemy whom 
Patriotism had driven from our borders. Be steady in your fidelity 
to Scotland, and you will lay invasion again in the dust !" 

The cheers of anticipated victory burst from the soldiers, mingled 
with the clangor of their striking shields at the voice of their leader. 
Wallace waved his truncheon to the chiefs to fall back towards their 
legions, and while some appeared to linger, Athol, armed cap-a-pie, 
and spurring his roan into the area before the regent, demanded in a 
haughty tone, "Which of the chiefs now in the field is to lead the 

"The regent of Scotland," replied Wallace, for once asserting the 
majesty of his station; "and you. Lord Athol, with the Lord Buchan, 
are to defend your country, under the command of the brave head 
of your house, the Prince Badenoch." 

"I stir not from this spot," returned Athol, fiercely striking his 
lance into its rest, "till I see the honor of my country established by 
a leader worthy of her rank being placed in her vanguard." 

"What he says," cried Buchan, "I second." "And in the same 
spirit, chieftain of Ellerslie," exclaimed Lord Bute, "do I offer to 
Scotland myself and my people. Another must lead the van, or I 
retire from her standard." 

"Speak on!" cried Wallace, surprised by this extraordinary attack. 

"What these illustrious chiefs have uttered is the voice of us all!" 
was the general exclamation from a band of warriors who now 
thronged around the incendiary nobles. 

"Your reign is over, proud chieftain!" rejoined Athol. To be 
thus ridden by a man of vulgar blood, to present him as the head of 
our nation to the King of England, is beneath the dignity of our coun- 
try, and I again demand of you to yield the vanguard to one more 
worthy of the station. Before God and St. Magdalen I swear," 
added he, holding up his sword to the heavens, "I will not stir an inch 
this day towards the enemy unless a Cummin or a Stewart leads our 


"And is this your resolution also, Lord Bute?" said Wallace, look- 
ing on Stewart. 

"It is," was the reply; "a foe like Edward ought to be met as 
becomes a great and independent kingdom. I therefore demand to 
follow a more illustrious leader to the field." 

"The eagles have long enough followed their owl in peacock's 
feathers," cried Buchan. 


"Resign that baton!" cried Athol. "Give place to a more honor- 
able leader," repeated he, supposing that he had intimidated Wallace; 
but Wallace, raising the visor of his helmet, looked on Athol with all 
the majesty of his royal soul in his eyes. "Earl," said he, "the voices 
of the three estates of Scotland declared me their regent, and God 
ratified the election by the victories with which he crowned me. If 
in aught I have betrayed my trust, let the powers which raised me be 
my accusers. Four pitched battles have I fought, and gained, for 
this country. Twice I beat the representatives of King Edward on 
the plains of Scotland, and a few months ago I made him fly before 
me over the fields of Northumberland. I neither tremble at the name 
of Edward, nor will I so disgrace my own as to abandon at such a 
crisis the power with which Scotland has invested me. Whoever 
chooses to leave the cause of their country, let them go; I remain, and 
I lead the vanguard. Scotsmen, to your duty!" 

As he spoke with a voice of command, several chiefs fell back into 
their ranks. But some made a retrograde motion towards the town. 
Lord Bute hardly knew what to think, so was he startled by the appeal 
of the accused regent and the noble frankness with which he main- 
tained his rights. He stood frowning as Wallace turned to him and 
said, "Do you, my lord, adhere to these violent men? or am I to con- 
sider you a chief still faithful to Scotland? Will you fight her 

"I shall never desert them," replied Stewart; "'tis truth I seek; 
therefore be it to you, Wallace, this day according to your conscience." 
Wallace bowed his head and presented him the truncheon, round 
which his line of battle was wrapped. On opening it, he found that 
he was appointed to command the third division, Badenoch and Both- 
well to the first and second, and Wallace himself to the vanguard. 

When the scouts arrived they informed the regent that the English 
army had advanced near to the boundary of Linlithgow, and, from 
the rapidity of their march, must be on the Carron the same evening. 
On this intelligence Wallace put his troops to their speed, and before 
the sun had declined he was within view of Falkirk. But just as he 
had crossed the Carron, and the Southron banners appeared in sight, 
Lord Athol, at the head of his rebellious colleagues, rode up to him. 
Stewart kept his appointed station, and Badenoch, doing the same, 
ashamed of his brother's disorder, called after him to keep his line. 
Regardless of all check, the obstinate chief galloped on, and, extend- 
ing his bold accomphces across the path of the regent, demanded of 
him, on the penalty of his life, that moment to relinquish his preten- 
sions to the vanguard. 


"I am not come here," replied Wallace, indignantly, "to betray 
my country. I know you, Lord Athol, and your conduct and mine 
will this day prove who is most worthy the confidence of Scotland." — 
"This day," cried Athol, "shall see you lay down the power you have 
usurped." — "It shall see me maintain it to your confusion," rephed 
Wallace; "and were you not surrounded by Scots of tried worth, I 
would this moment make you feel the arm of justice. But the foe is 
in sight; do your duty now, sir earl, and for the sake of the house to 
which you belong, even this intemperate conduct shall be forgotten." 
At this instant Sir John Graham, hastening forward, exclaimed, "The 
Southrons are bearing down upon us!" Athol glanced at their dis- 
tant host, and turning to Wallace with a sarcastic smile, "My actions," 
cried he, "shall indeed decide the day," and striking his spurs furiously 
into his horse he rejoined Lord Badenoch's legion. 

Edward did indeed advance in terrible array. Above a hundred 
thousand men swelled his ranks, and with these were united all whom 
the influence of the faithless March and the vindictive Souhs could 
bring into the field. 

Wallace had drawn himself up on the ascent of the hill of Falkirk, 
and planted his archers on an eminence flanked by the legions of 
Badenoch. Lord Athol, who knew the integrity of his brother, and 
who cared not in such a cause how he removed an adversary from 
Edward and a censor from himself, gave an order to one of his emis- 
saries. Accordingly, in the moment when the trumpet of Wallace 
sounded the charge and the arrows from the hill darkened the air, the 
virtuous Badenoch was stabbed through the back to the very heart. 
Athol had placed himself near to watch his purpose ; but in the instant 
the deed was done he threw himself on the perpetrator, and, wounding 
him in the same vital part, exclaimed, holding up his dagger, "Be- 
hold the weapon that has slain the assassin hired by Sir William 
Wallace! Let us fly from his steel to the shield of a king!" 

The men had seen their leader fall; they doubted not the words 
of his brother, and with a shout, exclaiming, "Whither you lead, we 
follow!" all at once turned towards him. "Seize the traitor's artil- 
lery!" At this command they mounted the hill, and the archers, little 
expecting an assault from their countrymen, were either instantly 
cut down or hurried away prisoners by Athol and Buchan, who, now 
at the head of the whole division of the Cummins, galloped towards the 
Southrons, and with loud cries of "Lono- live King Edward!" threw 
themselves en masse into their arms. The firm battalion of the van- 
guard alone remaining unbroken, stood before the pressing and now 
victorious thousands of Edward without receding a step. The archers 


being lost by the treachery of the Cummins, all hope lay on the 
strength of the spear and sword; and Wallace, standing immovable 
as the rock of Stirling, saw rank after rank of his infantry mowed 
down by the Southron arrows, while fast as they fell their comrades 
closed over them, and still presented the same front of steady valor 
against the heavy charges of the enemy's horse. The King of Eng- 
land, indignant at this pause in his conquering onset, accompanied 
by a squadron of resolute knights, in fury threw themselves towards 
the Scottish pikemen. Wallace descried the jeweled crest of Edward 
amidst the cloud of battle there, and rushing forward hand to hand 
engaged the king. Edward knew his adversary, not so much by his 
snow-white plume as by the prowess of his arm. Twice did the clay- 
more of Wallace strike fire from the steely helmet of the monarch, 
but at the third stroke the glittering diadem fell in shivers to the 
ground, and the royal blood of Edward followed the blow. The cry 
that issued from the Southron troops at this sight again nerved the 
vengeful Edward, and ordering the signal for his reserve to advance, 
he renewed the attack, and assaulting Wallace with all the fury of 
his heart he tore the earth with the trampling of vengeance when he 
found the phalanx still stood firm. "I will reach him yet!" cried he, 
and turning, to De Valence, he commanded that the new artillery 
should be called into action. On this order a blast of trumpets in 
the Southron army blew, and the answering war- wolves it had sum- 
moned sent forth showers of red-hot stones into the midst of the Scot- 
tish battalions. The field was heaped with dead; the brooks which 
flowed down the heights ran with blood; but no confusion was there, 
though, with amazement and horror, Wallace beheld the saltire of 
Annandale, the banner of Bruce, leading onward the last extermi- 
nating division. Scot now contended with Scot, In-other with brother. 
Those valiant spirits, who had left their country twenty years before 
to accompany their chief to the Holy Land, now reentered Scotland, 
to wrest from her her liberties. A horrid mingling of tartans with 
tartans, a tremendous rushing of the flaming artillery, which swept 
the Scottish ranks like blasting lightning, for a moment seemed to 
make the reason of their leader stagger. Arrows winged with fire 
flashed through the air, and, sticking in men and beasts, drove them 
against each other in maddening pain. Twice was the horse of Wal- 
lace shot under him, and on every side were his closest friends wounded 
and dispersed. But his horror at the scene passed away in the mo- 
ment of its perception, and though the Southron and the Bruce 
pressed on him in overwhelming numbers, his few remaining ranks 
obeyed his call, and with military skill that was exhaustless, he main- 


tained the fight till darkness parted the combatants. When Edward 
gave command for his troops to rest till morning, Wallace, with the 
remnant of his faithful band, slowlj^ recrossed the Carron, that they 
also might repose till dawn should renew the conflict. 

Lonely was the sound of his bugle, as he blew its melancholj^ blast 
to summon his chiefs around him. Its penetrating voice pierced the 
hills ; but no answering note came upon his ear. A direful conviction 
seized upon his heart ; but they might have fled far distant ; he blushed 
as the thought crossed him, and hopeless again, dropped the horn, 
which he had raised to blow a second summons. At this instant he 
saw a shadow darken the moonlight ruins, and Scrymgeour, who had 
gladly heard his commander's bugle, hastened forward. 

"What has been the fate of this dismal day?" asked Wallace, look- 
ing onward, as if he expected others to come up. "Where are my 
friends? Where Graham, Badenoch, and Bothwell? Where all, brave 
Scrymgeour, that I do not now see?" He rose from his seat at sight 
of an advancing group. It approached near, and laid the dead body 
of a warrior down before him. "Thus," cried one of the supporters 
in stifled sounds, "has my father proved his love for Scotland!" It 
was Murray who spoke; it was the Earl of Bothwell that lay a breath- 
less corpse at his feet. 

"Grievous has been the havoc of Scot on Scot !" cried the intrepid 
Graham, who had seconded the arm of JNIurray in the contest for 
his father's bodj^ "Your steadiness, Sir William Wallace, would 
have retrieved the day but for the murderer of his country; that Bruce, 
for whom you refused to be our king, thus destroys her bravest sons. 
Their blood be on his head!" continued the young chief, extending 
his martial arms towards heaven! 

"INIy brave friend!" replied Wallace, "his deeds will avenge them- 
selves; he needs no further malediction. Let us rather bless the 
remains of him who is gone before us to his heavenly rest. Murray, 
my friend!" cried he to Lord Andrew, "we must not let the brave 
dead perish in vain. Their monument shall yet be Scotland's liberties. 
Fear not that we are forsaken because of these traitors ; but remem- 
ber, our time is in the hand of the God of justice!" 

Tears were coursing each other down the cheeks of the affectionate 
son. He could not for some time answer Wallace, but he gi-asped 
his hand, and at last rapidly articulated: "Others may have fallen, 
but not mortally like him. Life may yet be preserved in some of our 
brave companions. Leave me, then, to mourn my dead alone, and 
seek ye them." 

Wallace saw that filial tenderness yearned to unburden its grief 


unchecked by observation. He arose, and making a sign to his friends, 
withdrew towards his men. Then sending Scrymgeour, with a reso- 
lute band, across the Carron, to bring in the wounded, he took his 
lonely course along the northern bank towards a shallow ford, near 
which he supposed the squadrons of Lord Loch-awe must have fought, 
and where he hoped to gain accounts of him from some straggling 
survivor of his clan. When he arrived at a point where the river 
winds its dark stream beneath impending heights, he blew the Camp- 
bell pibroch. The notes reverberated from rock to rock; but, un- 
answered, died away in distant echoes. Still he would not relinquish 
hope, and pursuing the path emerged on an open glade. The unob- 
structed rays of the moon iHumined every object. Across the river, 
at some distance from the bank, a division of the Southron tents white- 
ened the shadows of the woods, and before them, on the blood-stained 
plain, he thought he descried a solitary warrior. Wallace stopped. 
The man approached the margin of the stream and looked towards 
the Scottish chief. The visor of Wallace being up, discovered his 
heroic countenance bright in the moonbeams, and the majesty of his 
mien seemed to declare him to the Southron knight to be no other than 
the regent of Scotland. 

"Who art thou?" cried the warrior, with a voice of command that 
better became his lips than it was adapted to the man whom 
he addressed. 

"The enemy of England!" cried the chief. 

"Thou art Wallace," was the immediate reply; "none else dare 
answer the Lord of Carrick and of Annandale with such haughty 

"Every Scot in this land," returned Wallace, inflamed with 
indignation, "would thus answer Bruce, not only in reference to Eng- 
land, but to liimself! to that Bruce who, not satisfied with having 
abandoned his people to their enemies, has come to slay his brethren 
in their home. I come from gazing on the murdered body of the Earl 
of Bothwell. The Lords Bute and Fyfe, and perhaps Loch-awe, have 
fallen, and yet do you demand what Scot would dare to tell you that 
he holds the Earl of Carrick and his coadjutors as his most mortal 

"Ambitious man! I know the motive of all this pretended patri- 
otism, and I came, not to fight the battles of King Edward, but to 
punish the usurper of the rights of Bruce. I have gained my point. 
My brave followers slew the Lord of Bothwell; my brave followers 
made the hitherto invincible Sir William Wallace retreat. I came in 
the power of my birthright, and, as your lawful king, I command you 


this hour to lay your sword at my feet. Obey, proud knight, or to- 
morrow puts you into Edward's hand, and you die the death of a 

"Unhappy prince!" cried Wallace, now suspecting that Bruce had 
been deceived; "is it over the necks of your most loyal subjects that 
you would mount your throne? How have you been mistaken! The 
cause is now, probably, lost forever; and from whom are we to date 
its ruin but from him to whom the nation looked as to its appointed 

"Burden not my name, young man," replied Bruce, "with the 
charges belonging to your own ambition. Who disturbed the peace 
in which Scotland reposed after the battle of Dunbar but William 
Wallace? Who raised the country in arms but William Wallace? 
Who affected to repel a crown that he might the more certainly fix 
it on his head, but William Wallace?" 

"Shall I answer thee, Lord of Carrick," replied Wallace, "with 
a similar appeal? Who, when the Southron tyrant preferred a false 
claim to this reahn, subscribed to the falsehood, and by that action 
did all in his power to make a free people slaves? Who, when cruelty 
swept this kingdom, lay indolent in the usurper's court and heard of 
these oppressions without a sigh? Who brought an army into his 
own inheritance to slay his brethren? Thy heart will tell thee, Bruce, 
who is this man ; and, if honor yet remain in that iron region, thou wilt 
not disbelieve the asseverations of an honest Scot who proclaims that 
it was to supply the place of thy desertion that he assumed the rule 
with which a grateful people invested him." 

"Bold chieftain!" exclaimed Bruce, "is it thus you continue to 
brave your offended prince? But in pity to your youth, in admiration 
of your prowess I would deign to tell you that in granting the suprem- 
acy of Edward, the royal Bruce submits not to the dish of a despot, 
but to the necessity of the times. This is not an era of so great loyalty 
that any sovereign may venture to contend against such an imperial 
arm as Edward's. If the love of your country be indeed your motive, 
your obstinacy tends only to lengthen her misery. But if you carry 
your views to private aggrandizement, reflect on their probable issue. 
Should Edward withdraw his armies, and an intoxicated people ele- 
vate their minion to the throne, the lords of Scotland would reject the 
bold invasion, and hurl from his height the proud usurper of their 
rights and mine." 

"To usurp any man's rights, and least of all my king's," replied 
Wallace, "never came within the range of my thoughts. I saw my 
country made a garrison of Edward's; I beheld its people outraged 


in every relation that is dear to man. Who heard their cry? Where 
was Bruce? Where the nobles of Scotland, that none arose to extin- 
gaiish her burning villages, to shelter the mother and the child, to 
rescue purity from violation, to defend the bleeding father and his 
son? The hand of violence fell on my own house — the wife of my 
bosom was stabbed to the heart by a magistrate of the usurper. I 
then drew the sword — I took pity on those who suffered, as I had 
suffered. I espoused their cause; and never will I forsake it till life 
forsake me. Therefore, that I became the champion of Scotland, 
Lord of Carrick, blame not my ambition, but chiefly yourself — you, 
who, uniting personal merit to dignity of descent, had deserted the 
post which both nature and circumstance called upon you to occupy. 
If you now start from your delusion, it may not be too late to rescue 
Scotland from the perils which surround her. Listen, then, to my 
voice, prince of the blood of Alexander; forswear the tyrant who 
has cajoled you to this abandonment of your country, and resolve 
to be her deliverer. Awake to yourself, noble Bruce, and behold 
what it is that I propose. Heaven itself cannot set a more glorious 
prize before the eyes of virtue or ambition than to join in one object, 
the acquisition of royalty with the maintenance of national independ- 
ence. Such is my last appeal to you." 

The truth and gallantry of these sentiments struck the awakened 
mind of Bruce with the force of conviction. Another auditor was 
nigh who also lost not a syllable; and the flame was conveyed from 
the breast of one hero to that of the other. 

Lord Carrick secretly repented of all that he had done, but being 
too proud to acknowledge so much, he briefly answered: "Wallace, 
your words have made an impression on me that may one day still 
more brighten the glory of your fame. Be silent respecting this con- 
ference; be faithful to the principles you have declared, and ere long 
you shall hear royally of Bruce." As he spoke he turned away and 
was lost among the trees. 

Wallace stood for some minutes musing on what had passed, when, 
hearing a footstep behind him, he turned round and beheld approach- 
ing him a young and graceful form habited in a white hacqueton 
wrought in gold, with golden spurs on his feet, and a helmet of the 
same costly metal on his head crested with white feathers. Had the 
scene been in Palestine he might have mistaken him for the army's 
guardian angel. But the moment the eyes of Wallace fell on him, 
the stranger hastened forward and threw himself on one knee before 
him with so noble a grace that the chief was lost in wonder what this 
beautiful apparition could mean. The youth, after an agitated 


pause, bowing his head, exclaimed: "Pardon this intrusion, bravest 
c;l' men! I come to offer you my heart, my hfe! To wash out, by 
your side, in the blood of the enemies of Scotland, the stigma which 
now dishorors the name of Bruce!" — "And who are you, noble 
youth?" cried Wallace, raising him from the ground. "Surely my 
prayers are at last answered, and I hear these sentiments from one 
of Alexander's race." 

"I am indeed of his blood," replied he; "and it must now be my 
study to prove my descent by deeds worthy of my ancestor. I am 
Robert Bruce, the eldest son of the Earl of Carrick and Annandale. 
Grieving over the slaughter that his valiant arm has made of his 
own people, he walked out in melancholy. I followed at a distance, 
and I heard, unseen, all that has passed between you and him. He 
has retired to his tent, and, unknown to him, I hastened across the 
Carron, to declare my determination to live for Scotland or to die 
for her, and to follow the arms of Sir William Wallace till he plants 
my father in the throne of his ancestors." 

"I take you at your word, brave prince," replied the regent, "and 
this night shall give you an opportunity to redeem to Scotland what 
your father's sword has this day wrested from her. What I mean to 
do must be effected in the course of a few hours. That done, it will 
be prudent for you to return to the Carrick camp, and there take the 
most effectual means to persuade your father to throw himself at 
once into the arms of Scotland. The whole nation will then rally 
round their king, and as his weapon of war, I shall rejoice to fulfil 
the commission with which God has intrusted me." He then briefly 
unfolded to the eagerly listening Bruce an attack which he meant 
to make on the camp of Edward while his victorious troops slept in 
fancied security. 

He had sent Sir John Graham to Stirling to call out its garrison; 
Ker he had despatched on a similar errand; and expecting that by 
this time some of the troops would be arrived on the southern ex- 
tremity of the carse, he threw his plaid over the prince's splendid garb 
to conceal him from notice; then returning to the few who lay on 
the northern bank of the river, he asked one of the young Gordons to 
lend him his armor, saying he had use for it, and to seek another suit 
in the heap that had been collected from the buried dead. The brave 
Scot cheerfully acquiesced, and Wallace, retiring amongst the trees 
with his royal companion, Bruce soon covered his gay hacqueton with 
this rough mail, and placing the Scottish bonnet on his head, put a 
large stone into the golden helmet and sunk it in the waters of the 
Carron. Being thus armed like one of the youthful clansmen in the 


ranks, Wallace put the trusty claymore of his country into its prince's 
hand, and clasping him with a hero's warmth to his heart — "Now it 
is," cried he, "that William Wallace lives anew, since he has seen this 

On reemerging from the wood, they met Sir John Graham, who 
had just arrived with five hundred fugitives from Lord Bute's slaugh- 
tered division. He informed his friend that the Earl of Mar was 
within half a mile of the Carron with three thousand more, and that 
he would soon be joined by other reenforcements to a similar amount. 
While Graham yet spoke a squadron of armed men approached from 
the Forth side. Wallace, advancing towards them, beheld the Bishop 
of Dunkeld at their head, but with a corselet on his breast, and in- 
stead of his crosier he carried a drawn sword. "We come to you, 
champion of Scotland," cried the prelate, "with the prayers and the 
arms of the church. In the faith that the God of Justice will go be- 
fore us this night, we come to fight for Scotland's liberties." 

His followers were the younger brethren of the monastery of 
Cambus-Kenneth, and others from the neighboring convents; alto- 
gether making a stout and well-appointed legion. 

"With this handful," cried Wallace, "Heaven may find a David 
who shall yet strike yon Goliath on the forehead." 

Lord Mar and Lord Lennox now came up, and Wallace, marshal- 
ing his train, found that he had nearly ten thousand men. He gave 
to each leader his plan of attack, and having placed Bruce with Gra- 
liam in the van, before he took his station at its head, he retired to 
visit the mourning solitude of Murray. He found the pious son 
sitting silent by the side of his dead parent. Without arousing the 
violence of grief by any reference to the sight before him, Wallace 
briefly comnmnicated his project. Lord Andrew started on his feet. 
"I shall again grapple with the foe that has thus bereaved me. This 
dark mantle," cried he, turning towards the breathless corse and 
throwing his plaid over it, "will shroud thy hallowed remains till I 
return. I go where thou wouldst direct me. Oh, my father!" ex- 
claimed he in a burst of grief, "the trumpet shall sound, and thou 
wilt not hear! But I go -to take vengeance for thy blood." So 
saying he sprang from the place, and accompanying Wallace to the 
plain, took his station in the silent but swiftly moving army. 



The troops of King Edward lay overpowered with wine. Elated 
with victory, they had drunk largely, and the banquet over, a deep 
sleep lay upon every man. The king himself, whose many thoughts 
had long kept waking, now fell into a slumber. 

Guards had been placed around the camp, more from military 
ceremony than an idea of their necessity. The strength of Wallace 
they believed broken, and that they should have nothing to do next 
morning but to chase him into Stirling and take him there. But 
the spirit of the regent was not so easily subdued, and now, leading 
his determined followers, he detached half his force under Mar, to 
take the Southron camp in the rear, while he should pierce his way 
to the royal pavilion. 

With caution the battalion of Mar wound round the banks of 
the Forth to reach the point of its destination, and Wallace, proceed- 
ing with as noiseless a step, gained the hill which overlooked his sleep- 
ing enemies. His front ranks, shrouded by branches they had torn 
from the trees in Torwood, now stood still. Without this precau- 
tion, had any eye looked from the Southron line they must have been 
perceived; but now, should a hundred gaze on them, their figures 
were so blended with the adjoining thickets they might easily be mis- 
taken for a part of them. As the moon sank in the horizon they 
moved gently down the hill, and scarcely drawing breath, were within 
a few paces of the first outpost when one of the sentinels, starting 
from his reclining position, exclaimed, "What sound is that?" — "Only 
the wind amongst the trees," returned his comrade; "I see their 
branches waving. Let me sleep ; for Wallace yet lives, and we may 
have hot work to-morrow." Wallace did live, and the man slept — 
to wake no more, for the next instant a Scottish brand was through 
every Southron heart on the outpost. That done, Wallace threw 
away his bough, leaped the narrow dyke which lay in front of the 
camp, and with Bruce and Graham at the head of a chosen band of 
brave men cautiously proceeded onward to reach the pavilion. At 
the moment he should blow his bugle, the divisions he had left with 



Lennox and Murray and the Lord Mar were to press forward to the 
same point. 

Still all lay in profound repose; and guided by the lamps which 
burnt around the royal quarters, the dauntless Scots reached the tent. 
Wallace had already laid his hand upon the curtain that was its en- 
trance, when an armed man demanded, "Who comes here?" The 
regent's answer laid the man at his feet ; but the voice had awakened 
the ever-watchful Idng. Perceiving his own danger in the fall of the 
sentinel, he snatched his sword, and, calling aloud on his sleeping 
train, sprang from his couch. He was immediately surrounded by 
half a score knights, who started on their feet before Wallace could 
reach the spot. Short, however, would have been their protection; 
they fell before his arm and that of Graham, and left a vacant place, 
for Edward had disappeared. Foreseeing, from the first prowess of 
these midnight invaders, the fate of his guards, he had made a timely 
escape by cutting a passage for himself through the canvas of his 
tent. Wallace perceived that his prize had eluded his grasp; but 
hoping to at least drive him from the field, he blew the appointed 
signal to Mar and Lennox, caught one of the lamps from the mon- 
arch's table, and setting fire to the adjoining drapery, rushed from 
its blazing volumes to meet his brave colleagues. Graham and his 
followers, with firebrands in their hands, threw conflagration into all 
parts of the camp, and with the war-cries of their country assailed 
the terrified enemy from every direction. ]Men half dressed and un- 
armed rushed from their tents upon the pikes of their enemies; hun- 
dreds fell without striking a blow ; and they who were stationed near- 
est the outposts betook themselves to flight, scattering themselves in 
throngs over the plains of Linlithgow. 

The king in vain sought to rally his men, to remind them of their 
late victory, but his English alone hearkened to his call. Opposition 
seemed everywhere abandoned excepting on the spot still maintained 
by the king and his brave countrymen. The faithless Scots who had 
followed the Cummins to the field also stood there and fought with 
desperation. Wallace opposed the despair of his adversaries with the 
steadiness of his men, and Graham, having seized some of the war- 
engines, discharged a shower of blazing arrows upon the Southron 

The camp was now on fire in every direction, and putting all to 
the hazard of one blow, Edward ordered his men to make at once to 
the point where, by the light of the flaming tents, he could perceive 
the waving plumes of Wallace. With his ponderous mace held ter- 
ribly in the air the king himself bore down to the shock, and, breaking 


through the intervening combatants, assaulted the chief. The might 
of ten thousand souls was then in the arm of the regent of Scotland; 
Edward trembled; his mace was struck from his hand, but immedi- 
ately a glittering falchion supplied its place, and with recovering 
presence of mind he renewed the combat. 

Meanwhile the young Bruce, who, in his humble armor, might 
have been passed by as an enemy for meaner swords, checking the 
onward speed of March, pierced him at once through the heart. "Die, 
thou disgrace to the name of Scot," cried he, "and with thy blood 
expunge my stains!" His sword now laid all opposition at his feet; 
and the outcries of those who were perishing in the flames drove the 
king's ranks to distraction, and raised so great a fear in the minds of 
the Cummin clan that they fled in all directions. 

Edward saw the Earl of March fall, and finding himself wounded 
in many places, with a backward step he received the blows of Wal- 
lace; but that determined chief, following his advantage, made a 
stroke at the king which threw him, astounded, into the arms of his 
followers. The Southron ranks closed immediately before their in- 
sensible monarch, and a contest more desperate than any which had 
preceded it took place. At last the Southrons, having stood their 
ground till Edward was carried from further danger, suddenly 
wheeled about and fled precipitately towards the east. Wallace pur- 
sued them on full charge, driving them across the lowlands of Lin- 
lithgow, where he learned that the Earl of Carrick was in the Lothians, 
having retreated thither on the first tidings that the Scots had at- 
tacked the English camp. 

"Now is your time," said Wallace to Bruce, "to rejoin your father. 
Bring him to Scotland, where a free crown awaits him. Your actions 
of this night must be a pledge to your country of the virtues which 
will support his throne." 

The younger warrior, throwing off his rugged hauberk in a re- 
tired glen, appeared again as a prince, and embracing the regent, 
"A messenger from myself or from my father," said he, "shall meet 
you at Stirling. Meanwhile, farewell!" 

Bruce mounted the horse Wallace had prepared, and, spurring 
along the banks of the Almond, was soon lost amidst its luxuriant 

Wallace still led the pursuit of Edward, and meeting those aux- 
iliaries from the adjoining counties which his orders had prepared, 
he drove the flying host of England far into Northumberland. There, 
checking his triumphant squadrons, he recalled his stragglers, and 
returned into his own country. At Peebles he was agreeably sur- 


prised by the sight of Edwin who, as they continued their route to- 
gether, inquired the events of the past time, and heard them with 
wonder, horror, and gratitude. The death of his uncle Bothwell 
made his heart tremble within him at the thought of how much se- 
verer might have been his deprivation. At last he said, "But if my 
uncle Mar and our brave Graham were in the last conflict, where 
are they that I do not see them share your victory?" — "I hope," re- 
turned Wallace, "that we shall rejoin them in safety at Stirling. 
Our troops parted in the pursuit, and you see I have none with me 
now but my own particular followers." 

The regent's expectations that he should soon fall in with some 
of the chasing squadrons were the next morning gratified. Crossing 
the Bathgate hills, he met the returning battalions of Lennox, with 
Lord Mar's, and also Sir John Graham's. Lord Lennox was 
thanked by Wallace for his good services, and immediately despatched 
to reoccupy his station in Dumbarton. But the captains of Mar and 
of Graham could give no other account of their leaders than that 
they saw them last fighting valiantly in the Southron camp, and had 
since supposed that during the pursuit they must have joined the re- 
gent's squadron. A cold dew fell over the limbs of Wallace at these 
tidings; he looked on Murray and on Edwin. The expression of 
the former's face told him what were his fears; but Edwin, ever 
sanguine, strove to encourage the hope that all might yet be well. 

These comfortings were soon dispelled by the appearance of 
Lord Ruthven, who, having been apprised of the regent's approach, 
came forth to meet him. The pleasure of seeing the earl so far re- 
covered was checked by the first glance of his face, on which was 
characterized some tale of grief. Edwin, with a cheering voice, ex- 
claimed: "Courage, my father! our regent comes again a conqueror. 
Edward has once more recrossed the plains of Northumberland." 

"Thanks be to God for that!" replied Ruthven; "but what have 
not these last conflicts cost our country? Lord Mar is wounded unto 
death, and lies in a chamber next to the yet unburied corses of Lord 
Bute and the dauntless Graham." Wallace turned pale; a mist 
passed over his eyes, and staggering, he breathlessly supported him- 
self on the arm of Edwin. 

"Lead me to their chambers," cried Wallace. "Show me where 
my friends lie; let me hear the last prayer for Scotland from the lips 
of the bravest of her veterans." 

Ruthven turned the head of his horse, and as he rode along he 
informed the regent that Edwin had not left Hunting-tower for the 
Forth half an hour when an express arrived there from Falkirk. 


By it he learned that as soon as the inhabitants of Stirling saw the 
fire of the Southron camp, they had hastened thither to enjoy the 
spectacle. Some, bolder than the rest, entered its deserted con- 
fines, and amidst the slaughtered near the royal tent one of these 
visitors thought he distinguished groans. Whether friend or foe, 
he stooped to render assistance to the sufi'erer, and soon found it to 
be Lord Mar. The earl begged to be carried to some shelter, that 
he might see his wife and daughter before he died. The people drew 
him out from under his horse, and wrapping him in their plaids, 
conveyed him to Falkirk, where they lodged him in the convent. "A 
messenger was instantly despatched to me," continued Ruthven, "and 
I set out immediately. Many of our fallen nobles, amongst whom 
was the princely Badenoch, have been conveyed to the cemetery of 
their ancestors; others are entombed in the church of Falkirk; but 
the bodies of Sir John Graham and my brother Bothwell," said he in 
a lower tone, "I have retained till your return." — "You have done 
right," replied Wallace; and ascending the hills of Falkirk, the ven- 
erable walls of its monastery soon presented themselves to his view. 
He threw himself off his horse and entered, preceded by Lord 

He stopped before the cell which contained the dying chief, and 
desired the abbot to apprise the earl of his arrival. The sound of 
that voice, whose tones could be matched by none on earth, pene- 
trated to the ear of his almost insensible friend. Mar started from 
his pillow, and Wallace, through the half -open door, heard him say, 
"Let him come in, Joanna. All my mortal hopes now hang on him." 
Wallace instantly stepped forward, and beheld the veteran 
stretched on a couch, the image of that death to which he was so 
rapidly approaching. He hastened towards him, and the dying man, 
stretching forth his arms, exclaimed, "Come to me, Wallace, my son ; 
the only hope of Scotland, the only human trust of this anxious 

Wallace threw himself on his knees beside him, and taking his 
hand pressed it in anguish to his lips. Lady Mar sat by her hus- 
band, but she bore no marks of the sorrow which convulsed Wal- 
lace. She looked serious, but her cheek wore its freshest bloom. 
She spoke not ; and the veteran allowed tears to fall on the bent head 
of his friend. "Mourn not for me," cried he, "I die, as I have wished, 
in the field, for Scotland. But, dearest of friends! still the tears will 
flow; for I leave my children fatherless. And my Helen! — Oh, Wal- 
lace! the angel who exposed her precious self, through the dangers 
of that midnight walk, to save Scotland, her father, and his friends, 


is — lost to us! — Joanna, tell the rest," said he, gasping, "for I can- 

Wallace turned to Lady Mar with a look of such horror that she 
found her tongue cleave to the roof of her mouth, "Surely," ex- 
claimed he, "the Lady Helen is not dead?" "No," rejoined the 

earl ; "but " He could proceed no further, and Lady Mar forced 

herself to speak. "She has fallen into the hands of the enemy. On 
my lord's being brought to this place, he sent for myself and Lady 
Helen, but in passing by Dunipacis an armed squadron issued from 
behind the mound, and, putting our attendants to flight, carried her 
oif. I escaped hither. The reason of this attack was explained 
afterwards by one of the Southrons, who said that Lord Aymer de 
Valence, learning that Lady Helen ]Mar Avas to be brought to Fal- 
kirk, stationed himself behind Dunipacis, and springing out as soon 
as our cavalcade was in view, seized her. But as Lord de Valence 
loves Helen, I cannot doubt he will have sufficient honor not to insult 
the fame of her family, and so will make her his wife." 

"God forbid!" ejaculated Mar, holding up his trembling hands; 
"God forbid that my blood should ever mingle with that of any one 
of the people who have wrought such woe to Scotland! Swear to 
me, valiant Wallace, that you will move heaven and earth to rescue 
my Helen from the power of this Southron lord!" 

"So help me Heaven!" answered Wallace, looking steadfastly 
upwards. A groan burst from the lips of Lady JNIar, and her head 
sank on the side of the couch. "What? Who is that?" exclaimed 
Mar, raising his head in alarm from his pillow. "Think of your 
country, Donald," replied she. "To what do you bind its only de- 
fender? Are you not throwing him into the very center of his ene- 
mies by making him swear to rescue Helen? Oh, my lord, release 
Sir William Wallace from a vow that must destroy him!" "Wal- 
lace!" cried the now soul-struck earl, "has a father's anxiety asked of 
you amiss? If so, I dare not accept your vow." — "But I will fulfil 
it," cried Wallace. "Let thy paternal heart rest in peace and Lady 
Helen shall again be free in her own country. Edward's legions 
are far beyond the borders; but wherever this earl may be, yet I will 
reach him." 

Lord Ruthven, followed by Edwin and Murray, entered the 
room, and the two nephews were holding each a hand of their dying 
uncle in theirs when Lady Ruthven, who, exhausted with fatigue, 
had retired an hour before, reappeared at the door of the apartment. 
She had been informed of the arrival of the regent and her son, and 
now hastened to give them a sorrowful welcome. "Ah, my lord!" 


cried she, as Wallace pressed her matron cheek to his; "this is not 
as your triumphs are wont to be greeted ! You are still a conqueror, 

and yet death lies all around us. And our Helen, too " "Shall 

be restored to you by the blessed aid of Heaven," returned he. 

"What is yet left for me to do must be done, and then " He 

paused, and added, "The time is not far distant, Lady Ruthven, when 
we shall all meet in the realms to which so many of our dearest have 
just hastened." 

With swimming eyes Edwin drew towards his master. "My 
uncle would sleep," he said; "he is exhausted, and will recall us 
when he awakes from rest." The eyes of the veteran were at that 
moment closed with heavy slumber. Lady Ruthven remained with 
the countess to watch by him, and Wallace, withdrawing, was fol- 
lowed by Ruthven and the two young men out of the apartment. 

Lord Loch-awe, with the Bishop of Dunkeld and other chiefs, lay 
in different chambers pierced with many wounds, but none so grievous 
as those of Lord Mar. Wallace visited them all; and having made 
(quarters for his wounded men, at the gloom of evening he returned 
to Falkirk. He sent Edwin forward to inquire after the repose of 
his uncle, but on himself reentering the monastery, he requested the 
abbot to conduct him to the apartment in which the remains of Sir 
John Graham were deposited. The father obeyed; leading him 
along a dark passage, he opened a door and discovered the slain hero 
lying on a bier. Two monks sat at its head, with tapers in their 
liands. Wallace waved them to withdraw; they set down the lights 
and departed and he was then alone. 

Edwin, having learned from his father that Lord Mar still slept, 
and being told by the abbot where the regent was, followed him to 
the consecrated chamber. On entering he perceived him kneeling 
by the body of his friend. The youth drew near. He loved the 
brave Graham, and he almost adored Wallace. The scene, there- 
fore, smote upon his heart. He dropped down by the side of the 
regent and in a convulsive voice exclaimed, "Our friend is gone; 
but I yet live, and only in your smiles, my brother!" Wallace 
strained him to his breast; he was silent for some minutes, and then 
said, "To every dispensation of God I am resigned, my Edwin. 
AVhile I bow to this stroke, I acknowledge the blessing I still hold 
in you and Murray." He rose as he spoke, and opening the door, 
the monks reentered, and placing themselves at the head of the bier, 
chanted the vesper requiem. When it was ended, Wallace kissed 
the crucifix they laid on his friend's breast, and left the cell. 



No eye closed that night in the monastery of Falkirk. The Earl 
of Mar awaked about the twelfth hour, and sent to call Lord Ruth- 
ven, Sir William Wallace, and his nephews to attend him. As they 
api^roached, the priests, who had just anointed his dying head with 
the sacred unction, drew back. The countess and Lady Ruthven 
supported his pillow. He smiled as he heard the advancing steps 
of those so dear to him. "I send for you," said he, "to give you the 
blessing of a true Scot and a Christian. IVIay all who are here in 
thy blessed presence. Redeemer of mankind," cried he, looking up 
with a su^^ernatural brightness in his eye, "die as I do, rather than 
survive to see Scotland enslaved!" His eyes closed as the conclud- 
ing word died ui^on his tongue. Lady Ruthven looked intently on 
him; she bent her face to his, but he breathed no more; and, with a 
feeble cry, she fell back in a swoon. 

The soul of the veteran earl was indeed fled, and Wallace, Edwin, 
and JMurray remained kneeling around the corse. Anthems for the 
departed were raised over the body, and when they concluded, the 
mourners withdrew and separated to their chambers. 

By daybreak Wallace met JVIurray by appointment in the clois- 
ters. The remains of his beloved father had been brought from 
Dunipacis to the convent, and Murray now prepared to take them 
to Bothwell castle, there to be interred in the cemetery of his an- 
cestors. Wallace entered with him into the solitary court-yard, 
where the war-carriage stood which was to convey the deceased earl 
to Clydesdale. Four soldiers of his clan brought the corse of their 
lord from a cell and laid him on his martial bier. His bed was the 
sweet heather of Falkirk, spread by the hands of his son. As Wal- 
lace laid the venerable chief's sword and helmet on his bier, he cov- 
ered the whole with the flag he had torn from the standard of Eng- 
land in the last victory. "None other shroud is worthy of thy vir- 
tues!" cried he; "dying for Scotland, thus let the memorial of her 
glory be the witness of thine !" 

"Oh, my friend!" answered Murray, looking on his chief, "thy 
gracious spirit can divest even death of its gloom! My father yet 
lives in his fame!" 



"And in a better existence, too," gently replied Wallace, "else 
the earth's fame were an empty sound." 

The solemn procession, with Murray at its head, departed towards 
the valleys of Clydesdale, and Wallace returned to his chamber. 
Two hours before noon he was summoned by the tolling of the chapel 
bell. The Earl of Bute and his dearer friend were to be laid in their 
last bed. With a spirit that did not murmur he saw the earth closed 
over both graves; and while he yet lingered beside them, a monk 
approached him, attended by a shepherd boy. At the sound of steps 
Wallace looked up. "This young man," said the father, "brings 
despatches to the lord regent." Wallace rose, and the youth pre- 
sented his packet. Withdrawing to a little distance, he broke the 
seal and read to this effect: 

"My father and myself are in the castle of Durham, and both 
under arrest. We are to remain so till our arrival in London ren- 
ders its sovereign, in his own opinion, more secure. Meanwhile be 
on your guard: the gold of Edward has found its way into your 
councils. Beware of them who, with patriotism in their mouths, are 
purchased to betray you and their country into the hands of your 
enemy. Truest, noblest of Scots, farewell! 

"P.S. — The messenger who takes this is a simple border shep- 
herd; he knows not whence comes the packet; hence he cannot bring 
an answer." 

Wallace closed the letter, and putting gold into the shepherd's 
hand, left the chapel. In passing through the cloisters he met Ruth- 
ven just returned from Stirling, whither he had gone to inform the 
chiefs of the regent's arrival. "When I summoned them to the 
council-hall," continued Lord Ruthven, "and told them you had de- 
feated Edward on the Carron, instead of the usual gratulations on 
such a communication, a low whisper murmured through the hall, 
and the young Badenoch, unworthy of his patriotic father, rising 
from his seat, gave utterance to so many invectives against you that 
I should deem it treason even to repeat them. Suffice it to say, 
that out of five hundred chiefs and chieftains who were present, not 
one of them now breathes one word for Sir William Wallace. But 
this ingratitude I bore with patience, till Badenoch declared that 
late last night despatches had arrived from the King of France to the 
regent; and that he (in right of his birth), had put their bearer. 
Sir Alexander Ramsay, under confinement for having persisted to 
dispute his authority to withhold them from you." 

Wallace, who had listened in silence, drew a deep sigh as Ruth- 
ven concluded, and exclaimed, "God must be our fortress still. 


Ramsay shall be released, but I must first meet these violent men. 
And it must be alone, my lord," continued he; "you and our coad- 
jutors may wait my return at the city gates; but the sword of Ed- 
ward,, if need be, shall defend me against his gold." As he spoke 
he laid his hand on the jeweled weapon which hung at his side, and 
which he had wrested from that monarch in the last conflict. 

Aware that this treason aimed at him would strike his country 
unless warded off, he took his resolution, and requesting Ruthven 
not to communicate to any one what had passed, he mounted his horse 
and struck into the road to Stirling. He took the plume from his 
crest, and closing his visor, enveloped himself in his plaid, that the 
people might not know him as he went along, but casting away his 
cloak, and unclasping his helmet at the door of the keep, he entered 
the council-hall, openly and abruptly. He bowed to the assembly, 
and walked with a composed, but severe, air up to his station at 
the head of the room. Young Badenoch stood there ; and as Wallace 
approached, he fiercely grasped his sword. "Proud upstart!" cried 
he; "set a foot farther towards this chair, and every man in this 
council shall fall on you for your presumption!" 

"It is not in the arms of thousands to put me from my right," 
replied Wallace, calmly drawing the regent's chair towards him. 

"Will ye bear this?" cried Badenoch, plucking forth his sword. 
"Is the man to exist who thus braves the assembled lords of Scot- 
land?" While speaking he made a desperate lunge at the regent's 
breast. Wallace caught the blade in his hand, and wrenching it 
from his intemperate adversary, broke it into shivers and cast the 
pieces at his feet; then turning resolutely towards the chiefs, who 
stood appalled, he said, "I, your duly elected regent, left you only 
a few days ago to repel the enemy whom the treason of Lord March 
would have introduced into these very walls. Many brave chiefs 
followed me to that field, and more, whom I see now, loaded me as I 
passed, with benedictions. The'late Lord Badenoch stood his ground 
like a true Scot; but Athol and Buchan deserted to Edward." While 
speaking he turned towards the furious son of Badenoch. "Young 
chief," cried he, "from their treachery date the fate of your brave 
father and the whole of our grievous loss of that day. But the wide 
destruction has been avenged; Edward himself fell wounded by my 
arm, and was borne by his flying squadrons over the wastes of 
Northumberland. Thus have I returned to you with my duties 
achieved in a manner worthy of your regent. What, then, means 
the arrest of my ambassador? what this silence, when the representa- 
tive of your power is insulted to your face?" 


"They mean," cried Badenoch, "that my words are the utter- 
ance of their sentiments." 

■'Mean they what they will," returned Wallace, "they cannot dis- 
possess me of the rights with which assembled Scotland invested me 
on the plain of Stirling. And again I demand by what authority 
do you and they presume to imprison my officer, and withhold from 
me the papers sent by the king of France to the regent of Scotland?" 

"By an authority that we will maintain," replied Badenoch; "by 
the right of my royal blood, and by the sword of every Scot who 
spurns the name of Wallace!" — "And as a proof that we speak not 
more than we act," cried Macdougal of Lorn, making a sign to the 
chiefs, "you are our prisoner!" Many weapons were instantly un- 
sheathed, and their bearers attempted to lay hands on Wallace; but 
he, drawing the sword of Edward, with a sweep of his arm that made 
the glittering blade seem a brand of fire, set his back against the wall 
and exclaimed, "He that first makes a stroke at me shall find his death 
on this Southron steel! This sword I made the arm of the usurper 
yield to me; and this sword shall defend the regent of Scotland." 

The chieftains who pressed on him recoiled at these words; but 
their leaders, Badenoch and Lorn, waved them forward with vehe- 
ment exhortations. "Desist, young men," continued he; "provoke me 
not beyond my bearing. With a single blast of my bugle I could sur- 
round this building with a band of warriors who at sight of their 
chief being thus assaulted would lay this tumult in blood. Let me 
pass, or abide the consequence!" 

"Through my breast, then!" exclaimed Badenoch; "for with my 
consent you pass not here but on your bier. What is in the arm of a 
single man," cried he to the lords, "that ye cannot fall on him at once 
and cut him down?" 

"I would not hurt a son of the virtuous Badenoch," returned 
Wallace; "but his hfe be on j^our heads," said he, turning to the 
chiefs, "if one of you point a sword to impede my passage." — "And 
wilt thou dare it, usurper of my power and honors?" cried Badenoch. 
"Lorn, stand by your friend ! All here who are true to the Cummin 
and ^lacdougal hem in the tyrant." 

Many a hand now drew forth its dagger, and Badenoch, snatch- 
ing a sword from one of his accomplices, made another violent plunge 
at Wallace; but its metal flew in splinters on the guard-stroke of 
the regent, and left Badenoch at his mercy, "Defend me, chieftains, 
or I am slain!" cried he. But Wallace did not follow his advan- 
tage; with dignity he turned from the vanquished, and casting the 
enraged Lorn from him, who had thrown himself in his way, he ex- 


claimed, "Scots! that arm will wither which dares to point its steel 
at me." The crowd, struck in astonishment, parted before him as 
they would have done in the path of a thunderbolt, and, unimpeded, 
he passed to the door. 

That their regent had entered the keep was soon rumored through 
the city; and when he appeared from the gate he was hailed by the 
acclamations of the people. Now it was, when surrounded by the 
grateful citizens of Stirling, that he blew the summons for his cap- 
tains. Every man in the keep flew to arms, expecting that Wallace 
was returning upon them with the host he had threatened. In a few 
minutes the Lord Ruthven with his brave followers entered the inner 
ballium gate. Wallace smiled proudly as they drew near. "My 
lords," said he, "you come to witness the last act of my delegated 
power. Sir Alexander Scrymgeour, enter into that hall, which was 
once the seat of council, and tell the violent men who fill it that for 
the peace of Scotland, which I value more than my life, I allow 
them to stand unpunished of their offense against me. But the out- 
rage they have committed on the freedom of one of her bravest sons 
I will not pardon, unless he be immediately set at liberty. Let them 
deliver to you Sir Alexander Ramsay, and then I permit them to 
hear my final decision. If they refuse obedience they are all my 

Eager to open the prison door for his friend Ramsay, and little 
suspecting to what he was calling the insurgents, Scrymgeour has- 
tened to obey. Lorn and Badenoch gave him a rough reception, 
uttering such defiance of the regent that the standard-bearer lost 
all patience, and denounced the immediate deaths of the whole re- 
fractory assembly. "The court-yard," cried he, "is armed with thou- 
sands of the regent's followers; his foot is on your necks; obey, or 
this will be a more grievous day for Scotland than even that of Fal- 
kirk, for the castle of Stirling will run with Scottish blood." At 
this menace Badenoch became more enraged, and Scrymgeour, see- 
ing no chance of prevailing by argument, sent a messenger to tell 
Wallace the result. The regent immediately placed himself at the 
head of twenty men, and, reentering the keep, went directly to the 
warder, whom he ordered on his allegiance to the laws to deliver Sir 
Alexander Ramsay into his hands. He was obeyed, and returned 
with his recovered chieftain to the platform. 

When Wallace looked around him and saw the space before the 
keep filled with armed men and citizens, he ascended an elevated 
piece of ground which rose a little to the left, and waving his hand in 
token that he intended to speak, a profound silence took the place 

Copyright hij Charles Scrihnvr's Sons 

Wallace draws the King's sword 


of the buzz of admiration, gratitude, and discontent. He then ad- 
dressed the people: "Brother soldiers. Friends, and — am I so to 
distinguish Scots? — Enemies!" At this word a loud cry of "Perish 
all who are the enemies of our glorious regent!" penetrated to the 
inmost chambers of the citadel. 

Believing that the few of his partizans who had ventured out 
were falling under the vengeance of Wallace, Badenoch, with a 
brandished weapon, sallied towards the door; but there he stopped, 
for he saw his friends standing unmolested. 

Wallace proceeded, and with dignity announced the hatred that 
was now poured upon him by a large part of that nobility who had 
been so eager to invest him with the high office he then held. "Though 
they have broken their oaths," cried he, "I have fulfilled mine. 
They vowed to me all lawful obedience. I swore to free Scotland 
or to die. Every castle in this realm is restored to its ancient lord; 
every fortress is filled with a native garrison ; the sea is covered with 
our ships; and the kingdom sits secure behind her well-defended 
bulwarks. Such have I, through the strength of the Almighty arm, 
made Scotland. To-day I deliver up my commission, since its design 
is accomplished. I resign the regency." As he spoke he took off 
his helmet and stood uncovered before the people. 

"No, no!" seemed the voice from every lip; "we will acknowledge 
no other power, we will obey no other leader." 

Wallace expressed his sense of their attachment; but repeating 
that he had fulfilled the end of his office by setting them free, he 
explained that his retaining it was no longer necessary. "Should 
1 remain your regent," continued he, "the country would be involved 
in ruinous dissensions. So I bequeath your liberty to the care of 
your chiefs. But, should it be again in danger, remember that while 
life breathes in this heart, the spirit of William Wallace will be with 
you still." 

With these words he descended the mound and mounted his horse, 
amidst the cries and tears of the populace. They clung to his gar- 
ments as he rode along; and the women, with their children, throwing 
themselves on their knees in his path, implored him not to leave them 
to the inroads of a ravager. Wallace answered their entreaties with 
encouragement, adding that he was not their ])rince, to lawfully main- 
tain a disputed power over the legitimate chiefs of the land. "But," 
he said, "a rightful sovereign may yet be yielded to your prayers; 
and to procure that blessing, daughters of Scotland, night and day 
invoke the Giver of every good gift." 

When Wallace and his weeping train separated at the foot of 


Falkirk hill he was met by his veterans of Lanark, who, having heard 
of what had passed in the citadel, advanced to him with one voice 
to declare that they never would fight under any other commander. 
"Wherever you are, my faithful friends," returned he, "you shall 
still obey my word." When he entered the monastery, the opposi-- 
tion that was made to his resignation of the regency by the Bishop 
of Dunkeld, Lord Loch-awe, and others, was so vehement, so per- 
suasive, that had not Wallace been steadily principled not to involve 
his country in domestic war, he must have yielded to their pleading. 
But showing to them the public danger attendant on his provoking 
the wild ambition of the Cummins and their multitudinous adherents, 
his arguments, which the sober judgments of his friends saw con- 
clusive, at last ended the debate. He then rose, saying, "I have yet 
to perform my vow to our lamented Mar. I shall seek his daughter, 
and then, my brave companions, you shall hear of me, and, I trust, 
see me again." 



It being Lady Ruthven's wish that the remains of her brother should 
be entombed with his ancestors, preparations were made for the 
mournful cavalcade to set forth towards Braemar castle. The 
countess, hoping that Wallace might be induced to accompany them, 
did not long object to this proposal. At the moment of her hus- 
band's death, Lady Mar had felt a shock; but it was not that of sor- 
row for her loss. Every obstacle between her and Wallace she now 
believed removed. Her husband was dead; Helen was carried away 
by a man devotedly enamored of her, and most probably was at that 
time his wife. She no longer thought of death and judgment, and, 
under a pretense that her feelings could not bear the sight of her 
husband's bier, she determined to seclude herself in her own cham- 
ber till Wallace's grief for his friend should have passed away. But 
when she heard from the indignant Edwin of the rebellious conduct 
of the young Lord Badenoch, and that the regent had abdicated, her 
consternation superseded all caution. "I will soon humble that 
proud boy," exclaimed she, "and let him know that in opposing the 
elevation of Sir William Wallace he treads down his own interest. 
You are beloved by the regent, Edwin," cried she, clasping his hand 
with earnestness; "teach his heart the true interests of his country. 
I am the first woman of the house of Cummin, and is not that family 
the most powerful in the kingdom? By the adherence of one branch 
to Edward, the battle of Falkirk was lost ; by the rebellion of another, 
the regent of Scotland is obliged to relinquish that dignity. If 
Wallace would mingle his blood with theirs, would espouse me, every 
nerve would then be strained to promote the elevation of their kins- 
woman. Wallace would reign in Scotland, and the whole land lie 
at peace." 

Edwin eyed her with astonishment while she spoke. All her late 
conduct to his cousin Helen, to his uncle, and to Wallace was now 
explained, and he saw in her flushed cheek that it was not the patriot 
who desired this match, but the enamored woman. 

"You do not answer me?" said she; "have you any apprehension 
that Sir William Wallace would reject the hand which would dis- 
pense happiness to many thousand people?" 



"No," replied he; "I believe that much as he is devoted to the 
memory of her whom alone he can ever love, could he purchase hap- 
piness to Scotland by the sacrifice, he would espouse any virtuous 
woman who could bring him so blest a dowry. But in your case, 
my honored aunt, I can see no probability of such a consequence. 
In the first place, I know, that, now the Earl of Badenoch is no more, 
he neither respects nor fears the Cummins, and that he would scorn 
to purchase even the people's happiness by baseness in himself. 
Therefore I am sure, if you wish to marry Sir William Wallace, 
you must not urge the use he may make of the Cummins as an argu- 
ment. He need not stoop to cajole the men he may command. So, 
honored lady, believe it no longer necessary to wound your delicacy 
by offering him a hand which cannot produce the good you meditate." 

The complexion of the countess varied a thousand times during 
this answer. Her reason assented to many parts of it, but the pas- 
sion she could not acknowledge to her nephew urged her to persist. 
"You may be right," she replied, "but still, as there is nothing very 
repugnant in me, the project is surely worth trying. And, sweet 
Edwin, I must whisper you that your friend will never be happy till 
he again live in domestic affection." 

"Ah! but where is he to find it?" cried Edwin. "What will ever 
restore his Marion to his arms?" 

"I," cried she; "I will be more than ever Marion was to him; 
she knew not the boundless love that fills my heart for him!" Ed- 
win's blushes at this wild declaration told her how far she had be- 
trayed herself, and covering her face, she exclaimed, "You, who love 
Sir William Wallace, cannot be surprised that all who adore human 
excellence should participate in the sentiment. How could I see him, 
the benefactor of my family, the blessing to all Scotland, and not 
love him?" 

"True," replied Edwin, "but not as a wife would love her hus- 
band. And was it possible you could feel thus when my uncle lived, 
for surely love should not enter a widow's heart at the side of an 
unburied husband." 

"Edwin," replied she, "when you love and struggle with a pas- 
sion that drinks your very life, you will pity Joanna of Mar, and 
forgive her." 

"I pity you now, aunt," replied he; "but you bewilder me. I 
cannot understand the possibility of a noble lady suffering any pas- 
sion of this kind to get such domination over her. If it be virtue 
that you love in Sir William Wallace, had you not virtue in your 


The countess perceived by the remarks of Edwin that he was 
deeper read in the human heart than she had suspected; and, there- 
fore, with a bhish she rephed: "Think for a moment before you con- 
demn me. I acknowledge every good quahty that your uncle pos- 
sessed; but, oh, Edwin! he had frailties that you know not of, — 
frailties that reduced me to be what the world never saw — the most 
unhappy of women." Edwin turned pale at this charge against his 
uncle, but little did he think that the artful woman meant a frailty 
in which she had equally shared. She proceeded: "I married your 
uncle when I was a girl, and knew not that I had a heart. I saw 
Wallace and his virtues stole me from myself. He was reserved dur- 
ing Mar's life, but he did not repulse me with unkindness; I there- 
fore hope, and do you, my Edwin, influence him in my favor, and I 
will forever bless you." 

"Aunt," answered he, looking at her attentively, "can you with- 
out displeasure hear me speak a few perhaps ungrateful truths?" 

"Say what you will," said she, trembling, "only be my advocate 
with the noblest of human beings, and I can take naught amiss." 

"Lady Mar," resumed he, "I answer you with sincerity, because 
I love you, and venerate the memory of my uncle, and because I 
would spare you much future pain, and Sir William Wallace a task 
that would pierce him to the soul. You confess that he already 
knows you love him; that he has received such demonstrations with 
coldness. Recollect what it is you love him for, and then judge if 
he could do otherwise. Could he approve affections which a wife 
transferred to him from her husband, and that husband his friend?" 
— "Ah! but he is now dead!" interrupted she; "that obstacle is re- 
moved." "No," replied Edwin, "Wallace never could pledge his 
faith to one whose passions had so far silenced her sense of duty; and 
did he even love you, he would not for the empire of the world re- 
pose his honor in such keeping." 

"Edwin," cried she, at last summoning power to speak, for dur- 
ing this address she had sat gasping from rage; "are you not afraid 
to breathe all this to me? I have given you my confidence, and do 
you abuse it?" — "No, my dear aunt," replied he; "I speak the truth 
to you to prevent you hearing it in perhaps a more painful form from 
Wallace himself." — "Oh, no!" cried she with haughtiness; "he is a 
man, and he knows how to pardon the excesses of love! What is 
there in me, a princess of the crowns of Scotland and of Norway, a 
woman who has had the nobles of both kingdoms at her feet, that 
I should now be contemned? You mistake, Edwin; you know not 
the heart of man." — "Not of the common race of men, perhaps," re- 


plied he; "but certainly that of Sir William Wallace. Purity and 
he are too sincerely one for personal vanity to blind his eyes to the 
deformity of the passion you describe." 

He rose. Lady Mar wrung her hands in conviction that what 
he said was true. "Then, Edwin, I must despair!" "Penitence," 
said he, "appeases God, and shall it not find grace with man?" 

"Blessed Edwin!" cried she, falling on his neck; "whisper but my 
penitence to Wallace. Oh! make me that in his eyes which you 
would wish, and I will adore you on my knees!" 

The door opened at this moment and Lord Ruthven entered. The 
tears she was shedding he attributed to some conversation she might 
be holding respecting her deceased lord, and taking her hand, he told 
her he came to propose her removal from the scene of so many hor- 
rors. "My dear sister," said he, "I will attend you as far as Perth. 
After that, Edwin shall be your guard to Braemar, and my Janet will 
staj'^ with you there till time has softened your griefs." Lady JNIar 
looked at him. "And where will be Sir William Wallace?" — 
"Here," answered Ruthven. "Some considerations, consequent to 
his receiving the French despatches, will hold him some time longer 
south of the Forth." Lady JNIar shook her head doubtfully, and 
reminded him that the chiefs in the citadel had withheld the de- 

Lord Ruthven then informed her that unknown to Wallace Lord 
Loch-awe had summoned the most powerful of his friends then near 
Stirling, and attended by them was carried on a litter into the cita- 
del. It entered the council-hall, and from that bed of honorable 
wounds he threatened the assembly with instant vengeance from his 
troops without, unless they would immediately swear fealty to Wal- 
lace, and compel Badenoch to give up the French despatches. Vio- 
lent tumults were the consequence, but Loch-awe's litter being 
guarded by a double rank of armed chieftains, and the keep being 
hemmed round by his men, the insurgents at last complied, and 
forced Badenoch to relinquish the royal packet. This effected. Loch- 
awe and his train returned to the monastery. Wallace, however, re- 
fused to resume the dignity he had resigned. "No," said he to Loch- 
awe; "it is indeed time that I should sink into the shades, since I am 
become a word of contention amongst my countrymen." 

"He was not to be shaken," continued Ruthven; "but seeing mat- 
ter in the French despatches that ought to be answered without delay, 
he yet remains a few days at Falkirk." 

"Then we will await him here," cried the countess. 

"That cannot be," answered Ruthven; "it would be against ec- 


clesiastical law to detain the sacred dead so long from the grave. 
Wallace will doubtless visit Braemar; therefore I advise that to-mor- 
row 5"ou leave Falkirk." 

Edwin seconded this counsel, and fearing to make further oppo- 
sition, she silently acquiesced, but at night, when she went to her cell, 
her wakeful fancy aroused a thousand images of alarm. She remem- 
bered the vow that Wallace had made — to seek Helen. He had al- 
ready given up the regency, an office which might have detained him 
from such a pursuit ; and might not a passion softer than indignation 
against the ungrateful chieftains have dictated this act? Racked by 
jealousy, she rose from her bed and paced the room in wild disorder. 
All Edwin's admonitions were forgotten; and forgetful of her rank 
and sex, she determined to see Wallace, and appeal to his heart for 
the last time. She knew that he slept in an apartment at the other 
end of the monastery; and that she might pass thither unobserved, 
she glided into an opposite cell belonging to a sick monk, and stealing 
away his cloak, threw it over her and hurried along the cloisters. 

The chapel doors Mere open. In passing, she saw the bier of 
her lord awaiting the hour of its removal, surrounded by priests 
singing anthems for the repose of his soul, but no tender recollections 
knocked at the heart of Lady Mar as she sped along. 

His door was fastened with a latch; she gently opened it, and 
found herself in his chamber. She trembled, she looked around, but 
he was not there. Disappointment palsied her, and she sank upon 
a chair. "Am I betrayed?" said she to herself. "Has that youth- 
ful hypocrite warned him hence?" And then again she thought, 
"But how should Edwin guess that I should venture here?" 

She now determined to await his return, and nearly three hours 
she passed there, but he appeared not. At last, hearing the matin- 
bell, she started up, fearful that her maids might discover her ab- 
sence, and once more crossed the cloisters. While again drawing 
towards the chapel, she saw Wallace himself issue from the door, 
supporting on his bosom the fainting head of Lady Ruthven. Edwin 
followed them. Lady Mar pulled the monk's cowl over her face and 
withdrew behind a pillar. "Ah!" thought she, "absenting myself 
from my duty, I fled from thee!" She listened with breathless at- 
tention to what might be said. 

Lord Ruthven met them at that instant. "This night's watching 
by the bier of her brother," said Wallace, "has worn out your lady; 
Ave strove to support her through these vigils, but at last she sank." 
What Ruthven said in replj?" when he took his wife in his arms, the 
countess could not hear; but Wallace answered, "I have not seen 


her." — "I left her late in the evening drowned in tears," replied 
Ruthven; 'T therefore suppose that in secret she offers those prayers 
for her husband which my tender Janet pours over his grave." 

"Such tears," replied Wallace, "are Heaven's own balm. I know 
they purify the heart whence they flow." 

Lady Mar heard, and while she contemplated the matchless form 
before her she exclaimed to herself, "Why is it animated by as fault- 
less a soul? O Wallace! wert thou less excellent, I might hope!" 
She tore her eyes from a view which blasted while it charmed her, 
and rushed from the cloisters. 



The sun rose as the funeral procession of the Earl of Mar left the 
monastery at Falkirk. Lord Ruthven and Edwin mounted their 
horses. The maids of the two ladies led them forth towards the lit- 
ters which were to convey them on so long a journey. Lady Ruth- 
ven came first, and Wallace placed her tenderly in her carriage. The 
countess next appeared, clad in the weeds of widowhood. Lord 
Ruthven then rode up to bid adieu to his friend, and the litters moved 
on, Wallace promising that both he and Edwin should hear of him 
in the course of a few days. 

Hear of him they should, but not see him; for it was his deter- 
mination to set off that night for Durham, where, he was informed, 
Edward now lay, and, joined by his young queen, meant to sojourn 
till his wounds were healed. Believing that his presence in Scot- 
land could be no longer serviceable, Wallace did not hesitate in fix- 
ing his course. His first object was to fulfil his vow to Lord Mar. 
He thought it probable that Helen might have been carried to the 
English court, and that in seeking her he might also attempt an 
interview with young Bruce, hoping to learn how far he had suc- 
ceeded in persuading his father to resume the scepter of his ancestors. 

To effect his plan without hindrance, Wallace retired to his apart- 
ment to address a letter to Lord Ruthven. In this epistle he told 
the chief that he was going on an expedition which he hoped would 
prove beneficial to his country; but as it was an enterprise of rash- 
ness he would not make any one his companion; all the brother was 
in his letter to Edwin, conjuring him to prove his affection for his 
friend by abiding at home till they should meet again in Scotland. 

He wrote to Andrew Murray (now Lord Bothwell), addressing 
him as the first of his compatriots who had struck a blow for Scot- 
land and confiding to his care the valiant troop which had followed 
him from Lanark. "Tell them," said he, "that in obeying you they 
still serve with me; they perform their duty to Scotland at home — 
I abroad." 

These letters he enclosed in one to Scrymgeour, with orders to 
despatch two of them according to their directions ; but that to Mur- 



ray, Scrymgeour was himself to deliver at the head of the Lanark 

At the approach of twilight Wallace quitted the monastery, leav- 
ing his packet with the porter to present to Scrymgeour when he 
should arrive at his usual hour. As the chief meant to assume a bor- 
der-minstrel's garb, that he might travel the country unrecognized, 
he took his way towards a large hollow oak in Torwood, where he 
had deposited his means of disguise. When arrived there, he dis- 
armed himself of all but his sword, dirk, and breastplate ; he covered 
his tartan with a minstrel's cassock, and staining his bright complexion 
with the juice of a nut, concealed his brighter locks beneath a close 
bonnet. Being thus equipped he threw his harp over his shoulder, 
and having first in that deep solitude invoked a blessing on his en- 
terprise, he pursued his way along the broom-clad hills of Muir- 

Not a human creature crossed his path till the carol of the lark 
summoned the husbandman to his toil, and spread the thymy hills 
and daisied pastures with herds and flocks. He stopped at a little 
moss-covered cabin, on a burnside, and was hospitably entertained 
by its simple inhabitants. Wallace repaid their kindness with a few 
ballads, which he sang, accompanied by his harp. As he gave the last 
notes of "King Arthur's Death in Glory," the worthy cotter raised 
his head from the spade on which he leaned, and asked whether he 
could not sing of Wallace, the glory of Scotland. The wife and 
the children, who clung around their visitant, joined in this request. 
Wallace rose with a saddened smile and replied, "I cannot do what 
you require, but I can yield you an opportunity to oblige your hero. 
Will you take a letter from him, of which I am the bearer, to Lord 
Dundaff, at Berwick? It is to reveal to a father's heart the death 
of a son for whom Scotland must mourn to her latest generations." 

The honest shepherd respectfully accepted this mission, and his 
wife, loading their guest's scrip with her choicest fruits and cakes, 
accompanied him, followed by the children, to the bottom of the 

In this manner, sitting at the board of the lowly, and sleeping 
beneath the thatched roof, did Wallace pursue his way through 
Tweedale and Ettrick forest, till he reached the Cheviots. From 
every lip he heard his own praises; heard them with redoubled sat- 
isfaction, for he could have no suspicion of their sincerity. 

Late one evening he arrived on the banks of the river that sur- 
rounds the city of Durham. His minstrel garb prevented his being 
stopped by the guard at the gate; but as he entered its porch, a horse 


that was going through started at his abrupt appearance. Its rider 
suddenly exclaimed, "Fool, thou dost not see Sir Wilham Wallace!" 
Then turning to the disguised knight, "Harper," cried he, "you 
frighten my steed, draw back till I pass." Not displeased to find the 
terror of him so great amongst the enemies of Scotland that they even 
addressed their animals as sharers in the dread, Wallace stood out 
of the way, and saw the speaker to be a young Southron knight, who 
with difficulty kept his seat on the restive horse. Rearing and plung- 
ing, it would have thrown its rider had not Wallace put forth his 
hand and seized the bridle. By his assistance the animal was soothed, 
and the young lord, thanking him for his service, told him that as a 
reward he would introduce him to play before the queen, who that 
day held a feast at the bishop's palace. Wallace thought it probable 
he might see or hear of Lady Helen in this assembly, or find access 
to Bruce, and he gladly accepted the offer. The knight, who was 
Sir Piers Gaveston, ordering him to follow, turned his horse towards 
the city, and conducted Wallace through the gates of the citadel 
to the palace within its walls. 

On entering the banqueting-hall he was placed by the knight in 
the musicians' gallery, there to await his summons to her majesty. The 
entertainment being spread, and the room full of guests, the queen 
was led in by the haughty bishop of the see, the king being too ill of 
his wounds to allow his joining so large a company. The beauty 
of the lovely sister of Philip le Bel seemed to fill the gaze of all the 
bystanders, and none appeared to remember that Edward was absent. 
Wallace hardly glanced on her youthful charms; his eyes roamed 
from side to side in quest of a dearer object, — the captive daughter 
of his dead friend. She was not there, neither was De Valence; but 
Buchan, Athol, and Soulis were near the royal INIargaret, in all the 
pomp of feudal grandeur. 

Immediately on the royal band ceasing to play, Gaveston pressed 
towards the queen, and told her he had presumed to introduce a 
traveling minstrel into the gallery, hoping that she would order him 
to perform for her, as he could sing legends from the descent of the 
Romans to the victories of her royal Edward. With all her age's 
eagerness in quest of novelties, she commanded him to be brought to 

Gaveston having presented him, Wallace bowed with the respect 
due to her sex and dignity, and to the esteem in which he held the 
character of her royal brother. Margaret desired him to place his 
harp before her, and begin to sing. As he knelt on one knee, and 
struck its sounding chords, she stopped him by the inquiry of whence 


he came. "From the north country," was his reply. "Were you ever 
in Scotland?" asked she. "Many times." 

The young lords crowded round to hear this dialogue between 
majesty and lowliness. She smiled and turned towards them. "Do 
not accuse me of disloyalty, but I have a curiosity to ask another 
question. — Tell me," cried she, "for you wandering minstrels see all 
great people, good or bad, did you ever see Sir William Wallace in 
your travels?" — "Often, madam." — "Pray tell me what he is like; 
you probably will be unprejudiced, and that is what I can hardly 
expect in this case from any of these brave lords." Wishing to avoid 
further questioning, Wallace replied, "I have never seen him so dis- 
tinctly as to be enabled to give any opinion." — "Cannot you sing me 
some ballad about him?" inquired she, laughing; "and if you are a 
little poetical in your praise, I can excuse you, for my royal brother 
thinks this bold Scot would have shone brightly in a fairer cause." — 
"My songs are dedicated to glory set in the grave," returned Wal- 
lace: "therefore Sir William Wallace's faults or virtues will not be 
sung by me." — "Then he is a very young man, I suppose, for you 
are not old, and yet you speak of not surviving him? I was in hopes," 
cried she, addressing Bishop Beck, "that the king would have brought 
this Wallace to have supped with me here; but for once rebellion 
overcame its master." 

Beck made some reply which Wallace did not hear, and the queen, 
again turning to him, resumed, "JNIinstrel, we French ladies are very 
fond of a good mien, and I shall be a little reconciled to your northern 
realms if you tell me this Sir William Wallace is anything like 
as handsome as some of the gay knights by whom you see me sur- 
rounded." Wallace smiled, and replied, "The comeliness of Sir 
William Wallace lies in a strong arm and a feeling heart ; and if these 
be charms in the eyes of female goodness, he may hope not to be 
an object of abhorrence to the sister of Philip le Bel." The minstrel 
bowed as he spoke, and the young queen, laughing again, said, "I 
wish not to come within the influence of either. But sing me some 
Scottish legend, and I will promise wherever I see the knight to treat 
him with all courtesy." 

Wallace again struck the chords of his harp, and sang the triumphs 
of Reuther, the Scottish prince. The queen fixed her eyes upon him, 
and when he ended she turned and whispered to Gaveston, "If the 
voice of this man had been Wallace's trumpet, I should not now 
wonder at the discomfiture of England." Speaking, she rose, and 
presenting a jeweled ring to the minstrel, left the apartment. 

The lords crowded out after her, and the musicians coming down 


from the gallery, seated themselves with much rude jollity to regale 
on the remnants of the feast. Wallace, who had discovered the bard 
of Bruce by the escutcheon of Annandale suspended at his neck, 
gladly saw him approach. He came to invite the stranger minstrel 
to partake of their fare. A^^allace did not appear to decline it, and 
as the court bard seemed rather devoted to the pleasures of wine, 
he found it not difficult to draw from him what he wanted to know. 
He learnt that young Bruce was still in the castle under arrest; "and," 
added the bard, "I shall be obliged, in the course of half an hour, to 
relinquish these festivities for the gloomy duties of his apartment." 

This was precisely the point to which Wallace had wished to lead 
him, and pleading disrelish of wine, he offered to supply his place in 
the earl's chamber. The half-intoxicated bard accepted the proposi- 
tion with eagerness, and as the shades of night had long closed in, he 
conducted his ilhistrious substitute to the large round tower of the 
castle, informing him that he must continue playing in a recess ad- 
joining to Bruce's room till the last vesper bell from the abbey in the 
neighborhood should give the signal for his laying aside the harp. By 
that time the earl would be fallen asleep, and he might then lie down 
on a pallet he would find in the recess. 

All this Wallace promised punctually to obey, and being con- 
ducted up a spiral staircase was left in a little anteroom. The chief 
drew the cowl of his minstrel cloak over his face and set his harp 
before him in order to play. He could see through its strings that a 
group of knights were in earnest conversation at the further end of 
the apartment, but they spoke so low he could not distinguish what 
was said. One of the party turned round, and the light of a sus- 
pended lamp discovered him to be the brave Earl of Gloucester, 
whom Wallace had taken and released at Berwick. The same ray 
showed another to be Percy, Earl of Northumberland. Wallace 
found the strangeness of his situation. He, the conqueror of Edward, 
had been singing as a mendicant in his halls; and having given laws 
to the two great men before him, he now sat in their view unobserved 
and unf eared. Their figures concealed that of Bruce; but at last, 
when all rose together, he heard Gloucester say in rather an elevated 
voice, "Keep up your spirits. It cannot be long before King Edward 
discovers the motives of their accusation, and his noble nature will 
acquit you accordingly." 

"My acquittal," rephed Bruce, in a firm tone, "cannot restore 
what Edward's injustice has rifled from me. Your king may depend 
upon it," added he, with a sarcastic smile, "tfiat I am not a man to b.^ 


influenced against the right. Where I owe duty I will pay it to 
the utmost farthing." 

Not apprehending the true meaning of this speech, Percy imme- 
diately answered, "I beheve you, and so must all the world, for did 
you not give proofs of it that night on the Carron in bearing arms 
against the triumphant Wallace?" — "I did indeed give proofs of it," 
returned Bruce, "which I hope the world will one day know, by bear- 
ing arms against the usurper of my country's rights ; and before men 
and angels I swear," cried he, "to perform my duty to the end, to 
retrieve the insulted name of Bruce!" 

The two earls fell back before this burst from the soul of Bruce, 
and Wallace caught a glimpse of his youthful form, which stood pre- 
eminent between the Southron lords. 

Gloucester, as little as Northumberland, comprehending Bruce's 
ambiguous declaration, replied, "Let not your heart, my brave friend, 
burn too hotly against the king for this arrest. He will be the more 
urgent to obliterate by kindness this injustice when he understands 
the aim of the Cummins. Good-night, Bruce. May propitious 
dreams repeat the augury of your true friends!" Percy shook hands 
with the young earl, and the two English lords left the room. 

Wallace could now take a more leisurely survey of Bruce. He 
no longer wore the gay embroidered hacqueton; his tunic was black 
velvet, and all the rest of his garments accorded with the same mourn- 
ing hue. Soon after the lords had quitted him the elasticity of his 
figure, which before seemed ready to rise from the earth, gave way 
to melancholy retrospections, and he threw himself into a chair with 
his eyes fixed in musing gaze upon the floor. It was now that Wal- 
lace touched the strings of his harp. The "Death of Cuthullin" wailed 
from the sounding notes, but Bruce heard as though he heard them 
not. His posture remained the same, and sigh after sigh gave the 
only response to the strains of the bard. 

Wallace grew impatient for the chimes of that vesper-bell which, 
by assuring Bruce's attendants that he was gone to rest, would secure 
from interruption the conference he meditated. Two sen^ants entered. 
Bruce scarcely looking up bade them withdraw; he did not know 
when he should go to bed, and he desired to be no further disturbed. 
The men obeyed, and Wallace changing the melancholy stj-ain of 
his harp, struck the chords to the proud triumph he had played in 
the hall. Not one note of either ballad had he yet sung to Bruce, 
but when he came to the passage in the latter appropriated to these 
lines, — 


"Arise, glory of Albin, from thy cloud. 
And shine upon thy own!" 

he could not forbear giving the words voice. Bruce started from his 
seat. He looked towards the minstrel — he walked the room in great 
disorder. Wallace slowly advanced from the recess. The agitated 
Bruce, accidentally raising his head, beheld a man in a minstrel's 
garb, much too tall to be his bard, approaching him with a caution 
which he thought portended treachery. He sprang on his feet and 
caught his sword from the table, but in that moment Wallace threw 
off his cowl. Bruce stood gazing on him, stiffened with astonish- 
ment, Wallace, in a low voice, exclaimed, "My prince! do you not 
know me?" Bruce, without speaking, threw his arms about his neck. 
As Wallace returned the fond embrace he gently said, "How is it that 
I not only see you a close prisoner, but in these weeds?" Bruce at 
last forced himself to articulate: "I have known misery in all its 
forms since we parted, but I have not power to name my griefs, 
while trembling at the peril to which you have exposed yourself by 
seeking me. I am surrounded by spies, and should you be discovered, 
Robert Bruce will then have the curses of his country added to the 
judgments which already have fallen on his head." As he spoke they 
sat down together, and he continued: "Before I answer your ques- 
tions, tell me what cause could bring you to seek the alien Bruce in 
prison, and by what stratagem you came in this disguise into my 

Wallace briefly related the events which had sent him from Scot- 
land, his renconter with Piers Gaveston, and his arrangement with 
the bard. To the first part of the narrative Bruce listened with in- 
dignation. "I knew," exclaimed he, "that Athol and Buchan had 
left in Scotland some dregs of their own refractory spirits; but I could 
not have guessed that envy had so obliterated gratitude in the hearts 
of my countrymen. The wolves have now driven the shepherd from 
the fold," cried he, "and the flock will soon be devoured." 

Wallace recapitulated his reasons for having refrained from 
forcing the obedience of the young Lord Badenoch and his adherents. 
Bruce acknowledged the wisdom of this conduct, but could not re- 
strain his animadversions on the characters of the Cummins. He told 
Wallace that he had met the two sons of the late Lord Badenoch in 
Guienne; that James, who now pretended such resentment of his 
father's death, had ever been a rebellious son. John, who yet re- 
mained in France, appeared of a less violent temper; "but," added 
the prince, "I have been taught by one who will never counsel me 
more, that all the Cummins, male and female, would be ready at any 


time to sacrifice earth and heaven to their ambition. It is to Buchan 
and Athol that I owe my prolonged confinement, and to them I may 
date the premature death of my father." 

The start of Wallace declared his shock at this information. 
"How!" exclaimed he, "the Earl of Carrick dead?" The emotions 
of his soul would not allow him to proceed, and Bruce resumed: "It 
is for him I wear these sable garments, — poor emblems of the mourn- 
ings of my soul; mournings not so much for his loss, but because he 
lived not to let the world know what he really was. There, Wallace, 
is the bitterness of this cup to me!" 

"But can you not sweeten it, my dear prince," cried Wallace, 
"by retrieving all that he was cut off from redeeming? To open 
the way to you I come." — "And I will enter where you point," re- 
turned Bruce; "but heavy is my woe, that, knowing the same spirit 
was in my father's bosom, he should be torn from the opportunity 
to make it manifest." 

Bruce now proceeded to narrate to Wallace the particulars of his 
father's meeting with the king at Durham. Instead of that monarch 
receiving the Earl of Carrick with his wonted welcome, he turned 
coldly from him when he approached, and suifered him to take hi& 
usual seat at the royal table without deigning him the slightest notice. 
Young Bruce was absent from the banquet, having determined never 
to mingle again in social communion with the man whom he now re- 
garded as the usurper of his father's rights. The insolent Buchan 
seized a pause in the conversation that he might draw the attention 
of all present to the disgrace of the chief, and said with affected care- 
lessness, "My Lord of Carrick, to-day you dine with clean hands; the 
last time I saw you at meat they were garnished with your own 
blood." The earl turned on him a look which asked him to explain. 
Lord Buchan laughed and continued, "When we last met at table 
was it not in his majesty's tent after the victory at Falkirk? You 
were then red from the slaughter of those people to whom I under- 
stand you now give the appellation of sons. Having recognized the 
relationship, it was not probable we should again see your hands in 
their former brave livery, and their present pallid hue convinces more 
than myself of the truth of our information." 

"And me," cried Edward, rising on the couch to which his wounds 
confined him, "that I have discovered a traitor! You fled. Lord 
Carrick, at the first attack which the Scots made on my camp, and you 
drew thousands after you. I know you too well to believe that 
cowardice impelled the motion. It was treachery to your friend 
and king, and you shall feel the weight of his resentment !"— "To this 


hour, King Edward," replied the earl, starting from his clmir, "I have 
been more faithful to you than my country or my God. How often 
have you pledged yourself that you fought in Scotland only for my 
advantage! I gave my faith and my power to you; and how often 
have you promised, after the next successful battle, to restore me to 
the crown of my ancestors ! I still believed you, and engaged all who 
yet acknowledged the influence of Bruce to support your name in 
Scotland. Was not such the promise by which you allured me to the 
field of Falkirk? And when I had covered myself, as the Lord 
Buchan too truly says, with the blood of my children; when I asked 
my friend for the crown I had served for, what was his answer? 
'Have I naught to do but to win kingdoms to make gifts of?' Thus, 
then, did a king, a friend, break his often-repeated word !" 

Edward, who had been prepared by the Cummins to discredit all 
that Carrick might say in his defense, turned with a look of contempt 
towards him, and said, "You speak like a madman; and as maniacs 
both yourself and your son shall be guarded till I have leisure to con- 
sider any evidence you may offer in your vindication." — "And is this 
the manner. King Edward, that you treat your friend, once your pre- 
server?" — "The vassal," replied Edward, "who presumes upon the 
condescension of his prince, and acts as if he were his equal, ought to 
meet the punishment due to such arrogance. You saved my life on 
the walls of Acre, but you owed that duty to the son of your liege lord. 
In the fervor of youth I rewarded you with my friendship, and the 
return is treason." As he concluded he turned from Lord Carrick, 
and the marshals immediately seizing the earl took him to the keep 
of the castle.* 

His son, who had been sought in the Carrick quarters and laid 
under an arrest, met his father in the guard-chamber. Carrick could 
not speak, but motioning to be conducted to the place appointed for 
his prison, the men, with equal silence, led him through a range of 
apartments, and stopping in the farthest left him there with his son. 
Bruce was not surprised at his own arrest, but at that of his father he 
stood in speechless astonishment until the guards withdrew; then see- 
ing Lord Carrick, with a changing countenance, throw himself on the 
bed, he exclaimed, "What is the meaning of this, my father? Has 
any charge against me brought suspicion on you?" — "No, Robert," 
replied the earl; "it is I who have brought you into this prison, and 
into disgrace with all the world, for having surrendered my inheritance 
to the invader of my country. You are implicated in my crime, and 

•These speeches are historically true, as is also Edward's after-treatment of the Earl of 


for not joining the Southrons to repel the Scots from the royal camp 
we are both prisoners." 

"Then," replied Bruce, "Edward shall feel that you have a son 
who has virtue to be what he suspects, and from this hour I proclaim 
eternal enmity to the betrayer of my father." 

Carrick gazed on him with pride, and, sighing heavily, called him 
to approach him. "Come to me, my Robert," said he, "and abide 
by the last injunctions of your father, for from this bed I may never 
rise. A too late sense of the injuries my sanction has doubled on 
the people I was born to protect, and the ingratitude of him for 
whom I have offended my God and wronged my country, have broken 
my heart. I shall die, Robert, but you will avenge me." — "May God 
so prosper me!" cried Bruce, raising his arms to heaven. Carrick 
resumed: "Attend to me, my dear son, and do not mistake the nature 
of my last wish. Do not allow the words I have used to hurrj^ you 
into any personal revenge on Edward. Pierce him on the side of 
his ambition; there he is vulnerable, and there you will heal while 
you wound. This would be my revenge, dear Robert : that you should 
one day have his life in your power; and in memory of what I now 
say, spare it. Let your aim be the recovery of the kingdom which 
Edward rifled from your fathers. Join the triumphant Wallace. 
Tell him of my remorse, of my fate, and be guided wholly by his 
counsels; then by his arm and your own, seat yourself firmly on the 
throne of your fathers. That moment will avenge me on Edward, 
and in that moment, Robert, let the English ground which will then 
hold my body give up its dead. Remove me to a Scottish grave, and, 
standing over my ashes, proclaim to them who might have been my 
people, that dying I beg their forgiveness, and bequeath them my 
best blessing, my virtuous son to reign in my stead." 

Such injunctions at last prevailed with Bruce, and next day, writ- 
ing the hasty lines which Wallace received at Falkirk, he intrusted 
them to his bard, who conveyed them to Scotland by means of the 
shepherd youth. 

Shortly after the dispatch of this letter, the presage of Lord Car- 
rick was verified : he was seized in the night with spasms and died in 
the arms of his son. 

When Bruce related these particulars his grief became so violent 
that Wallace was obliged to enforce the dying words of the father 
he thus deplored. "Ah!" exclaimed the young earl, "I have indeed 
needed some friend to save me from myself, some one to reconcile me 
to the Robert Bruce who has so long slept in the fatal delusions which 
poisoned his father. Oh, Wallace! at times I am mad. I doubt 


whether my father meant what he spoke ; that he did not yet seek to 
{jreserve the life of his son at the expense of his honor, and I have 
been ready to precipitate myself on the steel of Edward so that he 
should but meet the point of mine." 

Bruce then added that in his more rational meditations he had 
resolved to attempt an escape in the course of a few days. He under- 
stood that a deputation of English barons seeking a ratification of 
their charter were soon to arrive in Durham; the bustle attendant 
on their businers would, he hoped, draw attention from him and afford 
him the opportunity he sought, "In that case," continued he, "I 
should have made directly to Stirling; and had not Providence con- 
ducted you to me I might have unconsciously thrown myself into 
the midst of enemies. James Cummin is too ambitious to have allowed 
my life to pass unattempted." 

Bruce's two attendants entered at this moment; a couch was laid 
for Wallace in an interior apartment, and with a grateful pressure 
of the hands, in which their hearts silently embraced, the chiefs sepa- 
rated to repose. 


THE bishop's palace. 

The second matin-bell sounded from the abbey before the eyes of 
Wallace opened from the sleep which had sealed them. A bath re- 
freshed him, then renewing the stain on his face and hands with the 
juice of a nut which he carried about him, and once more covering 
his martial figure and golden hair with the minstrel's cassock and 
cowl, he rejoined his friend. 

Bruce had previously affected to consider the bard as still dis- 
ordered by his last night's excess, and ordering him from his presence 
for at least a day, commanded that the traveling minstrel should be 
summoned to supply his place. 

The table was spread when Wallace entered, and several servants 
were in attendance. Bruce hastily rose and would have embraced 
him, but before these people it would have been more than imprudent, 
so he made a sign to him to take his place at a board near his own. 

The meal finished, Wallace, to maintain his assumed character 
while the servants were removing the table, was tuning his harp, when 
the Earl of Gloucester entered the room. The earl told Bruce the 
king had required the attendance of the border minstrel, and that 
after searching over the castle, the royal seneschal had at last dis- 
covered he was in the keep with him. On this being intimated to 
Gloucester, he chose rather to come himself to demand the harper 
from his friend than to subject him to the insolence of the royal 
servants. The king desired to hear "The Triumph" with which the 
minstrel had so much pleased the queen. Bruce turned pale at this 
message, and was opening his mouth to utter a denial, when Wallace 
immediately spoke. "If my Lord Bruce will grant permission, I 
should wish to comply with the King of England's request." — "Min- 
strel," replied Bruce, "you know not, perhaps, that the King of 
England is at an enmity with me, and cannot mean well to any one 
who has been my guest or servant. The Earl of Gloucester will 
excuse your attendance in the presence." 

"Not for my life or the minstrel's," replied the earl. "The king 
would suspect some mystery; but as it is, his majesty merely wishes 
to hear him play and sing, and I pledge myself he shall return in 



Further opposition would only have courted danger, and with as 
good a grace as he could assume Bruce gave his consent. A page, 
who followed Gloucester, took up the harp, and, with a glance at his 
friend which spoke the fearless mind with which he ventured into 
the power of his enemy, Wallace accompanied Gloucester out of 
the room. 

The earl moved swiftly forward, and leading him through a double 
line of guards, the folding-doors of the royal apartment were thrown 
open by two knights-in-waiting, and Wallace found himself in the 
presence. Perforated with the wounds which the chief's own hand 
had given him, the king lay upon a couch overhung with a crimson- 
velvet canopy with long golden fringes which swept the floor. His 
crown stood on a cushion at his head, and his queen, the blooming 
Margaret of France, sat full of smiles at his feet. The young Coun- 
tess of Gloucester occupied a seat by her side. 

The countess, who had not been at court the preceding day, fixed 
her eyes on the minstrel as he advanced into the middle of the room, 
where the page, by Gloucester's orders, planted the harp. She ob- 
served the manner of his obeisance to the king and queen and to 
herself; and the queen, whispering to her with a smile, said, "Have 
your British troubadours usually such an air as that? Am I right 
or am I wrong?" — "Quite right," replied the countess in as low a 

During this short dialogue, Edward was speaking with Glouces- 
ter, and Wallace leaned upon his harp. 

"That is enough," said the king to his son-in-law; "now let me 
hear him play." 

The earl gave the word, and Wallace, striking the chords with 
the hand of genius, called forth such strains and uttered such tones 
from his richly modulated voice that the king listened with wonder 
and the queen and countess scarcely allowed themselves to breathe. 
As the last sweep of the harp rolled on the ear of the king, the mon- 
arch deigned to pronounce him unequaled in his art. The queen 
approached him, laid her hand upon the harp, and touching the strings 
with a light finger said with a smile, "You must remain with the king's 
musicians and teach me how to charm as you do." Wallace replied 
to this innocent speech with a smile sweet as her own and bowed. 

The countess drew near. Though not much older than the youth- 
ful queen she had been married twice, and being therefore more 
acquainted with the proprieties of life, her compliments were uttered 
in a form more befitting her rank. 

Edward desired Gloucester to bring the minstrel closer to him. 


Wallace approached the royal couch. Edward looked at him from 
head to foot before he spoke, but Wallace bore this eagle gaze with 
an undisturbed countenance. 

"Who are you?" at length demanded Edward, who, surprised at 
the noble mien of the minstrel, conceived some suspicions of his 
quahty. Wallace saw what was passing in the king's mind, and, 
determining by a frank reply to uproot his doubts, fearlessly an- 
swered, "A Scot." — "Indeed!" said the king, satisfied that no incen- 
diary would dare thus to proclaim himself. "And how durst you, 
being of that outlawed nation, venture into my court?" — "I fear 
nothing on earth," replied Wallace. "This garb is privileged. None 
who respect that sacred law dare commit violence on a minstrel." 
"You are a bold man and an honest man, I believe," replied the king, 
*'and as my queen desires it I order your enrolment in my traveling 
train of musicians. You may leave the presence." 

"Then follow me to my apartment," cried the queen. "Countess, 
you will accompany me to see me take my first lesson." 

A page took up the harp, and Wallace, bowing to the king, was 
conducted by Gloucester to the queen's apartments. 

The royal Margaret herself opened the door, so eager was she 
to admit her teacher, and placing herself at the harp, she attempted 
a passage of "The Triumph" which had particularly struck her, but 
she played wrong. Wallace was asked to set her right; he obeyed. 
She was quick, he clear in his explanations, and in less than half an 
hour he made her execute the whole movement in a manner that 
delighted her. "Why, minstrel," cried she, "you are a magician. I 
have studied three long years to play the lute, and could never bring 
forth any tone that did not make me ready to stop my own ears. 
And now, countess," cried she, "did you ever hear any1;hing so 

"I suppose," returned the countess, "all your former instructors 
have been novices, and this Scot alone knows the art to which they 
pretended." — "Do you hear what the countess says?" exclaimed the 
queen, affecting to whisper to him; "she will not allow of any spiritual 
agency in my awakened talent. If you can contradict her, do, for I 
want very much to believe in fairies and magicians." 

Wallace, with a respectful smile, answered, "I know of no spirit 
that has interposed in yoin- majesty's favor but that of your own 
genius, and it is more efficient than the agency of all fairyland." 
The queen looked at him very gravely, and said, "If you really think 
there are no such things as fairies and enchantments, for so your words 
would imply, then everybody in your country must have genius, for 


they seem to be excellent in everything." "I have yet to ask you," 
resumed she, "the warriors of Scotland being so resistless, and their 
minstrels so perfect in their art, whether all the ladies can be so beauti- 
ful as the Lady Helen Mar?" 

The eagerness with which Wallace grasped at any tidings of 
Helen disturbed the composure of his air at once. "But perhaps 
you have never seen her?" added the queen. Wallace replied, "I have 
heard many praise her beauty, but more her virtues." — "Well, I am 
sorry," continued her majesty, "since you sing so sweetly of female 
charms, that you have not seen this wonder of Scottish ladies. You 
have now little chance of that good fortune, for Earl De Valence 
has taken her abroad, intending to marry her amidst all the state 
with which my lord has invested him." — "Is it to Guienne he has taken 
her?" inquired Wallace. — "Yes," replied the queen, rather pleased 
than offended at the minstrel's ignorance of court ceremony in thus 
familiarly presuming to put a question to her; she continued to an- 
swer. "While so near Scotland he could not win her to forget her 
native country and her father, who it seems was dying when De 
Valence carried her away, and to prevent bloodshed between the earl 
and Soulis, who is also madly in love with her, my ever-gracious 
Edward gave the English lord a high post in Guienne, and thither 
they are gone." 

Before Wallace could reply to some remark which the queen laugh- 
ingly added to her information, the countess thought it proper to 
give her gay mother-in-law a more decisive reminder of decorum, and, 
rising, she whispered something which covered the youthful Mar- 
garet with blushes. Her majesty rose directly, and pushing away 
the harp, said, "You may leave the room," and turning her back to 
Wallace, walked away through an opposite door. 

Wallace was yet recounting the particulars of his royal visit to 
Bruce (who had anxiously watched his return) when one of the 
queen's attendants appeared, and presenting him a silk handkerchief 
curiously coiled up, said that he brought it from her majesty, who 
supposed it must be his, as she found it in the room where he had 
been playing the harp. Wallace was going to say that it did not 
belong to him, when Bruce gave him a look that directed him to take 
the handkerchief. He obeyed without a word, and the boy withdrew. 

Bruce smiled. "There is more in that handkerchief than silk, my 
friend. Queens send not these embassies on trifling errands." While 
Bruce spoke, Wallace unwrapped it. "I told you so," cried the 
prince, pointing to a slip of emblazoned vellum, which became un- 
folded. "Shall I look aside while you peruse it?" — "Look on it, my 


dear prince," replied Wallace; "for in trifles, as well as in things of 
moment, I would hold no reserves with you." The vellum was then 
opened, and these words presented themselves: 

"Presume not on condescension. This injunction may be neces- 
sary, for the noble lady who was present at our interview tells me 
the men of this island are very presuming. I did not leave you this 
morning so abruptly out of unkindness and I write this because, 
having the countess ever with me, I shall not even dare to whisper 
it in her presence. Be always faithful and respectful, minstrel, and 
you shall ever find an indulgent mistress. 

"A page will call for you when your attendance is desired." 

Wallace and Bruce looked on each other. Bruce spoke first. 
"Had you vanity, my friend, this letter, from so lovely and innocent 
a creature, might be a gratification; but in our case, the sentiment it 
breathes is full of danger and I fear it will point an attention to 
you which may prove ruinous to our projects." — "Then," answered 
Wallace, "our alternative is to escape it by getting away this very 
night. And, as you persevere in your resolution not to enter Scot- 
land unaccompanied by me, and will share my attempt to rescue Lady 
Helen Mar, we must direct our course immediately to the Continent." 

"Yes, instantly, and securely too, under the disguise of priests," 
returned Bruce. "I have in my possession the wardrobe of the con- 
fessor who followed my father's fortunes, and who, on his death, re- 
tired into the abbey which contains his remains." 

It was then settled between the friends that when it became dark 
they should dress themselves in the confessor's robes, and by means 
of the queen's signet, which she had given to Wallace at the banquet, 
pass the guard as priests who had entered by some other gate, and 
were returned from shriving her majesty. Once without the city 
they could make a swift progress southward to the nearest seaport, 
and there safely embark for France. 

In these arrangements, and in planning their future movement^ 
relative to the rescue of Lady Helen, they passed several hours, and 
were only interrupted by the arrival of a lute from the queen for 
her minstrel to tune. Wallace obeyed, and returning it by the page 
who brought it congratulated himself that it was not accompanied 
by any new summons. Then continuing his discourse with Bruce, 
time moved on till the shadow deepened into night. 

"Now is our hour," cried Bruce, starting on his feet; "go you into 
that room and array yourself in the confessor's robes, while I call my 
servants to dispense with their usual nightly attendance." With de- 
termination and hope, Wallace gladly obeyed. In that very same 


instant the Earl of Gloucester suddenly entered, and looking around 
the room with a disturbed countenance, abruptly said, "Where is the 
minstrel?" — "Why?" answered Bruce, alarm appearing in his face. 
Gloucester advanced close to him. "Is any one within hearing?" — 
"No one." — "Then," replied the earl, "his life is in danger. He is 
suspected to be not what he seems, and, I am sorry to add, to stand 
in a favor with the queen, of a nature to incur his mortal punish- 

Bruce was so confounded with this stoppage of all their plans that 
he could not speak. Gloucester proceeded: "ISIy dear Bruce, from 
the circumstance of his being with you, I cannot but suppose that 
you know more of him than you think proper to disclose. Whoever 
he may be, whether he came from France, or really from Scotland, 
as he says, his life is now forfeited. And that by attempting to screen 
him you may not seem to share his imputed guilt, I come to warn 
you of this discovery. A double guard is set around the keep, so no 
visible means are left for his escape." 

"Then what will become of him?" exclaimed Bruce, forgetting 
all caution in dismay for his friend. "Am I to see the savior of my 
country butchered before my eyes by a tyrant ? I may die, Gloucester, 
in his defense, but I will never surrender him to his enemy." 

Gloucester stood aghast at this disclosure. He came to accuse 
the friend of Bruce; but now that he found this friend to be Wallace, 
the preserver of his own life, he immediately resolved to give him 
freedom. "Bruce," cried he, "when I recollect the deportment of this 
minstrel, I am surprised that, in spite of his disguise, I did not recog- 
nize the regent of Scotland; but now I know him, he shall find that 
generosity is not confined to his own breast. Give me your word 
that you will not stimulate suspicion by remonstrating with Edward 
against your own arrest, till the court leaves Durham, and I will 
instantly find a way to conduct your friend in safety from the castle." 
— "I pledge you my word of honor," cried Bruce; "release but him, 
and if you do demand it of me, I would die in chains." — "He saved 
me at Berwick," replied Gloucester, "and I am anxious to repay the 
debt. If he be near, explain what has happened in as few words as 
possible, for we must not delay a moment. I left a council with the 
enraged king, settling what horrible death was to be his punishment." 
— "When he is safe," answered Bruce, "I will attest his innocence to 
you; meanwhile rely on my faith that you are giving liberty to a 
guiltless man." 

Bruce hastened to Wallace, who had just completed his disguise. 
He briefly related what had passed, and received for answer that he 


would not leave his prince to the revenge of the tyrant. But Bruce, 
urging that the escape of the one could alone secure that of the other, 
implored him not to persist in refusing his offered safety, but to 
make direct for Normandy. "I will join you at Rouen, and thence 
we can proceed to Guienne," added he. "The hour the court leaves 
Durham is that of my escape, and when free, what shall divide me 
from you and our enterprise?" 

Wallace had hardly assented when a tumultuous noise broke the 
silence of the court-yard, the great iron doors of the keep were thrown 
back on their hinges, and the clangor of arms, with many voices, 
resounded in the hall. Thinking all was lost, with a cry of despair 
Bruce drew his sword and threw himself before his friend. At that 
instant Gloucester entered the room. "They are quicker than I 
thought," cried he; "but follow me. Bruce, remain where you are; 
sheathe your sword ; be bold ; deny you know anything of the minstrel, 
and all will be well." As he spoke, Gloucester grasped the Scottish 
hero by the hand, turned into a short gallery, and plucking the broad 
shaft of a cedar pilaster from under its capital, let himself and his 
companion into a passage within the wall of the building. The ponder- 
ous beam closed after them into its "former situation, and the silent 
pair descended, by a flight of stone steps, to a dungeon without any 
visible outlet, but the earl found one by raising a flat stone marked 
with a cross, and again they penetrated lower into the bosom of the 
earth by a gradually declining path, till they stopped on a level 
ground. "This vaulted passage," said Gloucester, "reaches in a direct 
line to Fincklay abbey. INIy uncle, the then abbot of that monastery, 
discovered it to me ten years ago. Since my coming hither this time 
I took it into my head to revisit this recess one day and happily 
for the gratitude I owe to you, I found all as I had left it in my uncle's 
lifetime. But for the sake of my honor with Edward, I must enjoin 
you to secrecy. You were my benefactor, noble Wallace, and I should 
deserve the rack could I sufl'er one hair of your head to fall with 
violence to the ground." 

Wallace declared his sense of the earl's generosity, and commended 
the young Bruce to his friendship. "The impetuosity of his mind," 
continued he, "at times may overthrow his prudence and leave him 
exposed to dangers which a little caution might avoid. When the 
flood of indignation swells his bosom, then tell him that I conjure 
him on the life of his dearest wishes to be silent." 

Gloucester replied, "What you say I will repeat to Bruce. I am 
too sensible my royal father-in-law has trampled on his rights, and 
should 1 ever see him restored to the throne of his ancestors, I could 


not but acknowledge the hand of Heaven in the event. Far would 
it have been from me to have bound him to remain a prisoner dm'ing 
Edward's sojourn at Durham, had I not been certain that your escape 
and his together would give birth to suspicion in the minds of my 
enemies. The result would be my disgrace, and a broken heart to her 
who has raised me by her generous love to the rank of a prince and 
her husband." 

Gloucester then informed Wallace that about two hours before 
he came to alarm Bruce for his safety, he was summoned by Edward 
to attend him immediately. When he obeyed he found Soulis stand- 
ing by the royal couch and his majesty talking with violence. At 
sight of Gloucester he beckoned him to advance, and striking his 
hand fiercely on a letter he held, he exclaimed, "Here, my son, behold 
the record of your father's shame! — of a King of England dishonored 
by a slave!" As he spoke he dashed it from him. Soulis answered, 
smiling, "Not a slave, my lord and king. Can you not see, through 
the disguise, the figure of nobility?" "Enough !" interrupted the king. 
"I know I am dishonored, but the villain shall die. Read the letter, 
Gloucester, and say what tortures shall stamp my vengeance." 
Gloucester opened the vellum and read, in the queen's hand: 
"Gentle minstrel! My lady countess tells me I must not see you 
again. Were you old or ugly, as most bards are, I might, she says; 
but being young it is not for a queen to smile upon one of your calling. 
I used to smile as I liked when I was in France. Oh, if it were not 
for those I love best, who are now in England, I wish I were there 
again! and you would go with me, gentle minstrel, would you not? 
And you would teach me to sing so sweetly. I will see you this 
evening, and your harp shall sing all my heartaches to sleep. My 
French lady of honor will conduct you secretly to my apartments. 
I am sure you are too honest even to guess at what the countess thinks 
you might fancy when I smile on you. But, gentle minstrel, presume 

not, and you shall ever find an indulgent mistress in M . 

"P.S. — At the last vespers to-night my page shall come for you." 
Gloucester knew the queen's handwriting, and not being able to 
contradict that this letter was hers, he inquired how it came into his 
majesty's hands. "I found it," replied Souhs, "in crossing the court- 
yard ; it lay on the ground, where, doubtless, it had been accidentally 
dropped by the queen's messenger." 

Gloucester, wishing to extenuate for the queen's sake, affirmed 
that from the simplicity with which the note was written and from 
her innocent references to the minstrel's profession, he could not sup- 
pose that she addressed him in any other character. 


"If he be only an itinerant harper," replied the king, "the deeper 
is my disgrace; for if a passion of another kind than music be not 
portrayed in every word of this artful letter, I never read a woman's 
heart." Gloucester inwardly thanked Heaven that none other than 
Soulis and himself were present to hear Edward fasten such dis- 
honor on his queen, but remaining silent, Edward believed him con- 
vinced of the queen's crime, and being too wrathful to think of caution, 
he sent for the bishop and others of his lords, and when they entered, ' 
vented to them also his indignation. Many were not of the same 
opinion with their sovereign; some thought with Gloucester; others 
deemed the letter a forgery ; but all united in recommending an imme- 
diate apprehension and private execution of the minstrel. "It is not 
fit," cried Soulis, "that a man who has even been suspected of invad- 
ing our monarch's honor should live another hour." 

This sanguinary sentence was acceded to, and with as little re- 
morse, by the whole assembly, as if they had merely condemned a 
tree to the ax. Earl Percy proposed — as he believed the queen inno- 
cent — that to clear her, the Countess of Gloucester and the French 
lady of honor should be examined relative to the letter. 

The king immediately ordered their attendance. 

The royal Jane of Acre appeared at the first summons, and spoke 
with an air of truth which convinced every candid ear of the innocence 
of the queen. Her testimony was that she believed the minstrel to 
be other than he seemed; but she was certain, from the conversation 
which the queen had held with her that she was ignorant of his real 
rank. On being questioned by the bishop, the countess acknowledged 
that her majesty had praised his figure, as well as his singing; "yet no 
more," added she, "than she afterwards did to the king, when she 
awakened his curiosity to send for him." Her highness said that she 
herself thought his demeanor much above his situation; but when he 
accompanied the queen and herself into her majesty's apartments, 
she had an opportunity to observe him in conversation; and by his 
easy, yet respectful, deportment, she became convinced he was not 
what he appeared. 

"And why, Jane," asked the king, "did you not impart these sus- 
picions to your husband or to me?" 

"Because," replied she, "the countenance of this stranger was so 
ingenuous, I could not suspect he came on any disloyal errand." 

"Lady," observed one of the elder lords, "if you thought so well 
of the queen and of this man, why did you caution her against his 
smiles, and deem it necessary to persuade her not to see him again?" 

The countess blushed, but replied, "Because I saw the minstrel 


was a gentleman. He possessed a noble figure and a handsome face, 
in spite of his Egyptian skin. Like most young gentlemen, he might 
be conscious of these advantages, and attribute the innocent smiles 
of my gracious queen to a source more flattering to his vanity. I have 
known many lords to make similar mistakes on as little grounds," 
added she, looking towards some of the younger nobles, "and there- 
fore, to prevent such insolence, I desired his final dismission." 

"Thank you, my dear Jane," replied the king; "you almost per- 
suade me of Margaret's innocence." 

"Believe it, sire," cried she with animation; "whatever thought- 
lessness her youth may have led her into, I pledge my life on her 

"First, let us hear what that French woman has to say to the 
assignation," exclaimed Soulis, whose cruel disposition exulted in 
torturing and death. "Question her, and then her majestj^^ may have 
full acquittal." 

Again the brow of Edward was overcast, and ordering the Coun- 
tess of Gloucester to withdraw, he commanded the Baroness de 
Pontoise to be brought into the presence. 

When she saw the king's threatening looks, she shrank with terror. 
Though she knew nothing really bad of her unhappy mistress, yet 
fancying that she did, she stood before the royal tribunal with the 
air of a culprit. 

"Repeat to me," demanded the king, "or answer it with your head, 
all that you know of Queen Margaret's intimacy with the man who 
calls himself a minstrel." 

At these words, which were delivered in a tone that seemed the 
sentence of death, the French woman fell on her knees, and in a burst 
of terror exclaimed, "Sire, I will reveal all, if your majesty will grant 
me a pardon for having too faithfully served my mistress." 

"Speak! speak!" cried the king with desperate impatience. "I 
swear to pardon you even if you have joined in a conspiracy against 
my life; but speak the truth, and all the truth!" 

"I obey," answered the baroness and raised from her kneeling 
position by Soulis, she began: 

"The only time I ever saw this man to my knowledge was when 
he was brought to play before my lady at the bishop's banquet, and 
when I attended her majesty's disrobing after the feast she put to 
me so many questions about what I thought of the minstrel that I 
began to think her admiration too great to have been awakened by 
a mere song. And then she asked me if a king could have a nobler 


air than he had, and she laughed and said she would send your majesty 
to school to learn of him." 

"Vile traitress!" exclaimed the king. The baroness paused, and 
retreated from before the fury which flashed from his ej^es. "Go 
on!" cried he; "hide neither word nor circumstance, that my vengeance 
may lose nothing of its aim." 

She proceeded: "Her majesty then talked of his beautiful eyes; 
so blue, she said, yet proud in their looks. 'De Pontoise,' added she, 
*can you explain that?' I, being rather, perhaps, too well learned 
in the idle tales of our troubadours, heedlessly answered, 'Perhaps 
he is some king in disguise, just come to look at your charms, and 
go away again.' 'The Countess of Gloucester,' my lady continued, 
'with persuasions too much like commands, will not allow me to see 
the minstrel any more.' She then declared her determination that 
she would see him, and he should come and sing to her when she was 
alone, and that she was sure he was too modest to presume on her 
condescension. I said something to dissuade her, but she overruled 
me, and I consented to assist her. She gave me a letter to convey 
to him, which I did by slipping it beneath the handle of her lute, which 
I sent as an excuse for the minstrel to tune. It was to acquaint him 
with her intentions, and this night he was to have visited her apart- 

During this recital, the king sat with compressed lips, listening. 
On mentioning the letter he clenched his hand as if then he grasped 
the thunderbolt. The lords immediately apprehended that this was 
the letter which Soulis found. 

"Take the m oman hence," cried the king, in a burst of wrath, "and 
never let me see her traitor face again!" The baroness withdrew in 
terror, and Edward, calling Sir Piers Gaveston, commanded him to 
place himself at the head of a double guard and go in person to bring 
the object of his introduction to meet the punishment due to his crime. 
"For," cried the king, "be he prince or peasant, I will see him hanged 
before my eyes." 

Soulis now suggested that as the delinquent was to be found with 
Bruce, most likely that young nobleman was privy to his designs. 
"We shall see to him hereafter," replied the king; "meanwhile look 
that I am obeyed." 

The moment this order passed the king's lips Gloucester, now 
not doubting the queen's guilt, hastened to warn Bruce of what had 
occurred, that he might separate himself from the crime of a man who 
appeared to have been under his protection. But when he found that 
the accused was no other than the beloved and generous Wallace, 


all other considerations were lost in the desire of delivering him from 
danger. He knew the means, and he did not hesitate to employ them. 

During the recital of this narrative Gloucester narrowly observed 
his auditor, and by the horror he evinced at the crime he was suspected 
of having committed, the earl, while convinced of his innocence, easily 
conceived how the queen's sentiments for him might have gone no 
farther than a childish admiration, pardonable in a guileless creature 
hardly more than sixteen. 

"See," cried Wallace, "the power which lies with the describer of 
actions! The chaste mind of your countess saw nothing in the con- 
duct of the queen but thoughtless simplicity. The contaminated heart 
of the Baroness de Pontoise descried passion in every word, and, 
judging of her mistress by herself, she has wrought this mighty ruin. 
Were it not for endangering the safety of Bruce, I myself would 
return and stake my life on proving the innocence of the Queen of 
England. But, if a letter, with my word of honor, could convince 
the king " 

"I accept the offer," interrupted Gloucester. "I am too warmly 
the friend of Bruce, too grateful to you, to betray either into danger; 
but from Sunderland, whither I recommend you to go and there 
embark for France, write the declaration you mention and enclose it 
to me. I can contrive that the king shall have your letter without 
suspecting by what channel, and then I trust all will be well." 

During this discourse they passed on through the vaulted passage, 
till, arriving at a wooden crucifix which marked the boundary of the 
domain of Durham, Gloucester stopped. "I must not go farther. 
Should I prolong my stay from the castle during the search for you, 
suspicion may be awakened. You must, therefore, proceed alone. 
Go straight forward, and at the extremity of the vault you will find 
a flagstone surmounted like the one by which we descended; raise it, 
and it will let you into the cemetery of the abbey of Fincklay. One 
end of that burying-place is always open to the east. Thence you 
will emerge to the open world, and may it in future, noble Wallace, 
ever treat you according to your unequaled merits. Farewell!" 

The earl turned to retrace his steps, and Wallace pursued liis way 
through the darkness towards the Fincklay extremity of the vault. 



Wallace, having issued from his subterranean journey, made direct 
to Sunderland, where he arrived about sunrise. A vessel belonging 
to France rode there, waiting a favorable wind. Wallace secured a 
passage in her, and going on board, wrote his promised letter to 
Edward. It ran thus: 

"This testament is to assure Edward, King of England, upon 
the word of a knight, that Queen Margaret, his wife, is in every re- 
spect guiltless of the crimes alleged against her by the Lord Soulis 
and sworn to by the Baroness de Pontoise. I came to the court of 
Durham on an errand connected with my country, and that I might 
be unknown I assumed the disguise of a minstrel. By accident I 
encountered Sir Piers Gaveston; and, ignorant that I was other than 
I seemed, he introduced me at the royal banquet. It was there I first 
saw her majesty. And I never had that honor but three times: one 
I have named, the second was in your royal presence, and the third 
and last in her apartments, to which your majesty's self saw me with- 
draw. The Countess of Gloucester was present the whole time, and 
to her highness I appeal. The queen saw in me only a minstrel; on 
my art alone as a musician was her favor bestowed, and by expressing 
it with a warmth which none other than an innocent heart would 
have dared to display, she has thus exposed herself to the false repre- 
sentations of a worthless friend. 

"I have escaped the snare which the queen's enemies laid for me, 
and for her sake, for the sake of truth and your own peace, King 
Edward, I declare before the Searcher of all hearts, and before the 
world, that your wife is innocent. And should I ever meet the man 
who, after this declaration, dares to unite her name with mine in a 
tale of infamy, by the power of truth I swear that I will make him 
write a recantation with his blood. Pure is, and shall ever be, the 
honor of William Wallace." 

This letter was enclosed in one to the Earl of Gloucester, and 
having despatched his packet to Durham, the Scottish chief gladly 
saw a brisk wind blow up from the northwest. The ship weighed 
anchor, cleared the harbor, and, under a fair sky, swiftly cut the waves 



towards the Gallic shores. But ere she reached them the warlike star 
of Wallace directed to his little bark the terrific sails of the Red 
Reaver, a formidable pirate who then infested the Gallic seas, swept 
their commerce, and insulted their navy. He attacked the French 
vessel, but it carried a greater than Caesar and his fortunes: Wallace 
and his destiny were there, and the enemy struck to the Scottish chief. 
The Red Reaver ( so surnamed because of his red sails and sanguinary 
deeds) was killed in the action, but his younger brother, Thomas de 
Longiieville, was found alive within the captive ship, and a yet greater 
prize, Prince Louis of France, who, having been out the day before 
on a sailing-party, had been descried and seized as an invaluable 
booty by the Red Reaver. 

Adverse winds for some time prevented Wallace from reaching 
port with his capture ; but on the fourth day after the victory he cast 
anchor in the harbor of Havre. The indisposition of the prince from 
a wound he had received in his own conflict with the Reaver made it 
necessary to apprise King Philip of the accident. In answer to 
Wallace's despatches on this subject, the grateful monarch added 
to the proffers of friendship, which had been the substance of his 
majesty's embassy to Scotland, a pressing invitation that the Scottish 
chief would accompany the prince to Paris, and there receive a public 
mark of royal gratitude, which, with due honor, should record this 
service done to France to future ages. Meanwhile Philip sent the 
chief a suit of armor, with a request that he would wear it in remem- 
brance of France and his own heroism. But nothing could tempt 
Wallace to turn aside from his duty. Impatient to pursue his journey 
towards the spot where he hoped to meet Bruce, he wrote a respectful 
excuse to the king, but arraying himself in the monarch's martial 
present, he w^ent to the prince to bid him farewell. Louis was pre- 
paring for their departure, all three together, with young De Longue- 
ville (whose pardon Wallace had obtained from the king) ; and the 
two young men expressed their disappointment when they found that 
their benefactor was going to leave them. Wallace gave his highness 
a packet for the king, containing a brief statement of his vow to 
Lord Mar, and a promise that when he had fulfilled it, Philip should 
see him at Paris. The royal cavalcade then separated from the de- 
liverer of its prince, and Wallace, mounting a richly barbed Arabian, 
which had accompanied his splendid armor, took the road to Rouen. 

Meanwhile events not less momentous took place at Durham. The 
instant Wallace had followed the Earl of Gloucester from the apart- 
ment in the castle, it was entered by Sir Piers Gaveston. He de- 
manded the minstrel. Bruce replied he knew not where he was. 


Gaveston, eager to convince the king that he was no accomplice with 
the suspected person, put the question a second time, and in a tone 
which he meant should intimidate the Scottish prince. "Where is the 
minstrel?" — "I know not," replied Bruce. — "And will you dare to 
tell me, earl," asked his interrogator, "that within this quarter of an 
hour he has not been in this tower, nay, in this very room? The guards 
in your ante-chamber have told me that he was, and can Lord Carrick 
stoop to utter a falsehood?" 

While he was speaking Bruce stood eying him with increasing 
scorn. Gaveston paused. "You expect me to answer you?" said 
the prince. "Out of respect to myself, I will. The man you seek 
may have been in this tower, in this room, as you at present 
are, and as little am I bound to know where he now is as whither 
you go when you relieve me from an inquisition which I hold my- 
self accountable to no man to answer." — "'Tis well," cried Gaves- 
ton; "and I am to carry this haughty message to the king?" — "If you 
deliver it as a message," answered Bruce, "you will prove that they 
who are ready to suspect falsehood find its utterance easy. JSIy reply 
is to you. When King Edward speaks to me, I shall find the answer 
that is due to him." — "These attempts to provoke me into a private 
quarrel," cried Gaveston, "will not succeed. I must seek the man 
through your apartments." — "By whose authority?" demanded 
Bruce. — "By my own as the loyal subject of my outraged monarch. 
He bade me bring the traitor before him, and thus I obey." While 
speaking Gaveston beckoned to his attendants to follow him to the 
door whence Wallace had disappeared. Bruce threw himself before 
it. "I must forget the duty I owe to myself before I allow you to 
invade my privacy. I have already given you the answer that be- 
comes Robert Bruce, and in respect to your knighthood, instead of 
compelling I request you to withdraw." Gaveston hesitated; but he 
knew the character of his opponent, and therefore, with no very good 
grace, muttering that he should hear of it from a more powerful 
quarter he left the room. And certainly his threats were not in this 
instance vain, for prompt was the arrival of a marshal and his officers 
to force Bruce before the king. 

"Robert Bruce, Earl of Cleveland, Carrick, and Annandale, I 
come to summon you into the presence of your liege lord, Edward 
of England." 

"The Earl of Cleveland obeys," replied Bruce, and with a fear- 
less step he walked out before the marshal. 

When he entered the presence chamber, Sir Piers Gaveston stood 
beside the royal couch as if prepared to be his accuser. The king 


sat supported by pillows, paler with jealousy and baffled authority 
than from the effects of his wounds. "Robert Bruce!" cried he, "are 
you not afraid that I shall make that audacious head answer for the 
man whom you thus dare to screen from my just revenge?" Bruce 
felt all the injuries he had suffered from this proud king rush upon 
his memory, and without lowering the lofty expression of his looks 
he firmly answered: "The judgment of a just king I cannot fear; 
the sentence of an unjust one I despise." Edward noted his reply 
and with a sensation of shame he would gladly have repressed, he said 
that in consideration of his youth he would pardon him what had 
passed, and reinstate him in all the late Earl of Carrick's honors, if 
he w^ould declare where he had hidden the offending minstrel. "I 
have not hidden him," cried Bruce, "nor do I know where he is; but 
had that been confided to me, as I know him to be an innocent man, 
no power on earth should have wrenched him from me." 

"Robert Bruce," cried the king, "before I came this northern 
journey I ever found you one of the most devoted of my servants, 
and how do I see you at this moment ? Braving me to my face. How 
is it that until now this spirit never broke forth?" — "Because," an- 
swered the prince, "until now I had never seen the virtuous friend 
whom you call upon me to betray." — "Then you confess," cried 
the king, "that he was an instigator to rebellion?" — "I avow," an- 
swered Bruce, "that I never knew what true loyalty was till he 
taught it me, nor what virtue might be till he allowed me to see iri 
himself incorruptible fidelity, and a purity of heart not to be con- 

"Your vindication," cried the king, "confirms his guilt. You 
admit that he is not a minstrel in reality. Wherefore then did he 
steal into my palace, but to betray either my honor or my life?" — 
"His errand here was to see me." — "Rash boy!" cried Edward, "then 
you acknowledge yourself a conspirator against me!" 

The Earl of Gloucester at that moment entered from seeing 
Wallace through the cavern. At sight of him, Bruce knew that his 
friend was safe, and fearless for himself, he suddenly exclaimed, "By 
one word. King Edward, I will confirm what I have said. Listen 
to me, not as a monarch and an enemy, but with the unbiased judg- 
ment of man with man, — and then ask your own brave heart if it 
would be possible for Sir William Wallace to be a traitor and con- 

Every mouth was dumb at the enunciation of that name, and the 
king himself, thunderstruck, alike with the boldness of his conqueror 
venturing within the grasp of his revenge, and at the daring of 


Bruce in thus declaring his connection with him, for a few minutes 
knew not what to answer, for he was too well acquainted with the 
history and uniform conduct of Wallace to doubt his honor. 
"Bruce," said he, "though Wallace is my enemy, I know him to be 
of an integrity which neither man nor woman can shake. And 
whoever, after this, mentions one word of what has passed in these 
investigations, shall be punished as guilty of high treason." 

Bruce was then ordered to be reconducted to the round tower, 
and the rest of the lords withdrew by command. 

Bruce was now more closely immured than ever. Not even his 
bard was allowed to approach him, and double guards were kept 
constantly around his prison. On the fourth day of his seclusion 
an extra row of iron bars was put across his windows. He asked 
the captain of the party the reason for this new rivet on his cap- 
tivity, but he received no answer. His own recollection, however, 
solved the doubt; for he could not but see that his declaration re- 
specting his friendship with Wallace had increased the alarm of Ed- 
ward. One of the warders, on having the same inquiry put to him 
which Bruce had addressed to his superior, in a rough tone replied, 
"He had best not ask questions, lest he should hear that his majesty 
had determined to keep him under Bishop Beck's padlock for life." 
Bruce was not to be deprived of hope by a single evidence, and, 
smiling, said, "There are more ways of getting out of a tyrant's 
prison than by the doors and windows." — "Why, you would not eat 
through the walls," cried the man. — "Certainly," replied Bruce, "if 
I have no other way, and through the guards, too." — "We'll see 
to that," answered the man. — "And feel it too, my sturdy jailer," 
returned the prince; "so look to yourself." Bruce threw himself 
recklessly into a chair as he spoke, while the man, eying him askance, 
and remembering how strangely the minstrel had disappeared, be- 
gan to think that some people born in Scotland held a magic power 
of executing whatever they determined. 

Though careless in his manner of treating the warder's informa- 
tion, Bruce thought of it with anxiety, and he remained immovable 
on the spot where the man had left him, till another sentinel brought 
in a lamp. He set it down in silence and withdrew. Bruce then 
heard the bolts on the outside of his chamber pushed into their 
guards. "There they go," said he to himself, "and those are to be 
the morning and evening sounds to which I am to listen all my days. 
Well, Edward, kindness might bind generous minds even to forget 
their rights; but, thanks to you, neither in my own person nor for any 
of my name do I owe you aught but to behold me King of Scotland,. 


and, please God, that you shall, if the j^rayers of faith may set me 

While resolutions respecting the consequences of his hoped-for 
liberty occupied his mind, he heard the tread of a foot in the adjoin- 
ing ])assage. He listened breathless, for no living creature, he 
thought, could be in that quarter of the building, as he had suffered 
none to enter it since Wallace had disappeared by that way. He 
half rose from his couch as the door at which he had seen him last 
gently opened. He started up, and Gloucester, with a lantern in his 
hand, stood before him. The earl put his finger on his lip, and, 
taking Bruce by the hand, led him, as he had done Wallace, down into 
the vault which leads to Fincklay abbey. 

Having led him in safety through the vaulted passage, they parted 
in the cemeterj^ of Fincklay, Gloucester to walk back to Durham by 
the banks of the Wear, and Bruce to mount the horse the good earl 
had left tied to a tree to convey him to Hartlepool. There he em- 
barked for Normandy. 

When he arrived at Caen he made no delay, but taking a rapid 
course across the country towards Rouen, on the second evening of 
his traveling, having pursued his route without sleep, he felt him- 
self so overcome with fatigue that in the midst of a dreary plain he 
found it necessary to stop for rest at the first habitation he might 
find. It happened to be the abode of one of those poor but pious 
matrons who, attaching themselves to some neighboring order of 
charity, live alone in desert places for the purpose of succoring dis- 
tressed travelers. Here Bruce found the widow's cruse and a pallet 
to repose his wearied limbs. 



Wallace, having separated from the prince royal of France, pur- 
sued his solitary way towards the capital of Normandy, till night 
overtook him ere he was aware. Clouds so obscured the sky that not 
a star was visible, and his horse, terrified at the darkness and the 
difficulties of the path, suddenly stopped. This aroused Wallace 
from a fit of musing to look around him, but on which side lay the 
road to Rouen he could form no guess. To pass the night in so 
exposed a spot might be dangerous, and spurring the animal he de- 
termined to push onward. 

He had ridden nearly another hour when the dead sileaice of 
the scene was broken by the roll of distant thunder. Then forked 
lightning shooting from the horizon showed a line of country un- 
marked by any vestige of human habitation. The storm approached 
till, breaking in peals over his head, it discharged such sheets of fire 
at his feet that the horse reared, and, plunging amidst the blaze, 
flashed the light of his rider's armor on the eyes of a troop of horse- 
men, who also stood under the tempest, gazing with affright at the 
scene. Wallace, by the same illumination, saw the travelers as they 
seemed to start back at his appearance, and mistaking their appre- 
hension, he called to them that his steed would do theirs no harm. 
One of them advanced and respectfully inquired of him the way to 
Rouen. Wallace replied that he was a stranger in this part of the 
country, and was also seeking that city. While he was yet speak- 
ing, the thunder became more tremendous, the horses of the troop 
became restive, and one of them threw its rider. Cries of lamenta- 
tion, mingling with the groans of the fallen person, excited the com- 
passion of Wallace. He rode towards the spot whence the latter 
proceeded, and asked the nearest bystander whether the unfortunate 
man were much hurt. The answer returned was full of alarm for 
the sufferer, and anxiety to obtain some place of shelter, for rain 
began to fall. Wallace cheered them by saying he would seek a shel- 
ter for their friend and blow his bugle when he had found one, and 
with the word he turned his horse, and as he galloped along called 
aloud on any Christian man who might live near to open his doors 



to a dying traveler. After riding about in all directions he saw a 
glimmering light for a moment, and then all was darkness ; but again 
he cried aloud, and a shrill female voice answered, "I am a lone 
woman with already one poor traveler in my house, but, for the Vir- 
gin's sake, I will open my door to you, whatever you may be." The 
good woman relit her lamp, which the rain had extinguished, and on 
her unlatching her door, Wallace entreated her permission to bring 
the unfortunate person into the cottage. She readily consented, 
and giving him a lantern to guide his way, he blew his bugle, which 
was instantly answered by so loud a shout that it assured him his 
companions could not be far distant. 

The men directed him through the darkness by their voices, for 
the lantern threw its beams but a very little way, and arriving at 
their side, by his assistance the bruised traveler was brought to the 
cottage. It was a poor hovel, but the good woman had spread a clean 
woolen coverlet over her own bed, and thither Wallace carried the 
invalid. He seemed in great pain; but his kind conductor answered 
their hostess' inquiries respecting him with a belief that no bones 
were broken. "But yet," cried she, "sad may be the effects of in- 
ternal bruises on so emaciated a frame. I will venture to disturb 
my other guest, who sleeps in the loft, and bring down a decoction 
that I keep there. It is made from simple herbs, and I am sure will 
be of service." 

The old woman, having showed to the attendants where they 
might shelter their horses, ascended a few steps to the chamber above. 
Meanwhile the Scottish chief disengaged the sufferer from his wet 
garments and covered him with the blankets. Recovered to recol- 
lection by the comfort of his bodily feelings, the stranger opened 
his eyes. He fixed them on Wallace, then looked around and turned 
to Wallace again. "Generous knight!" cried he, "I have nothing but 
thanks to offer for this kindness. You seem to be of the highest rank, 
and yet have succored one whom the world abjures." The knight 
returned a courteous answer, and the invalid, in a paroxysm of emo- 
tion, added, "Can it be possible that a prince of France has dared to 
act thus contrary to his peers?" 

Wallace, not apprehending what had given rise to this question, 
supposed the stranger's wits were disordered, and looked with in- 
quiry towards the attendant. Just at that moment a step, more ac- 
tive than that of their aged hostess, sounded above, and an exclama- 
tion of surprise followed it in a voice that startled Wallace. He 
turned hastily round, and a young man sprang from the cottage 
stairs into the apartment; joy danced in every feature, and the 


ejaculation, "Wallace!" "Bruce!" burst at once from the hearts of 
the two friends as they rushed into each other's arms. While the 
chiefs freely spoke in their native tongue before a people who could 
not be supposed to understand them, the aged stranger on the bed 
reiterated his moans. Wallace, in a few words telling Bruce the 
manner of his renconter with the sick man and his belief that he was 
disordered in his mind, drew towards the bed and offered him some 
of the decoction which the woman now brought. The invalid drank 
it and gazed earnestly first on Wallace and then on Bruce. "Pierre, 
withdraw," cried he to his personal attendant. The man obeyed. 
"Sit down by me, noble friends," said he to the Scottish chiefs, "and 
read a lesson which I pray ye lay to your hearts." Wallace drew a 
stool, while his friend seated himself on the bed. The old woman, 
perceiving something extraordinary in the countenance of the 
stranger, thought he was going to reveal some secret heavy on his 
mind, and also withdrew. 

"You think my intellects are injured," resumed he, turning to 
Wallace, "because I addressed you as one of the house of Philip. 
Those jeweled lilies round your helmet led me into the error. I 
never before saw them granted to other than a prince of the blood. 
But think not, brave man, I respect you less since I have discovered 
that you are other than a prince. Look at this emaciated form, and 
behold the reverses of all earthly grandeur. He that used to be fol- 
lowed as the source of honor, with suppliants at his feet, would now 
be left to solitude were it not for these few faithful servants who have 
preserved their allegiance to the end. Look on me, chiefs, and be- 
hold him who was the king of Scots." 

At this declaration both Wallace and Bruce, struck with compas- 
sion at meeting their ancient enemy reduced to such misery, with one 
impulse bowed their heads to him with an air of reverence. The 
action penetrated the heart of Baliol, for when at the meeting and 
exclamation of the two friends he recognized in whose presence he 
lay, he remembered that, by his base submissions turning the scale 
of judgment in his favor, he had defrauded the grandsire of the very 
Bruce now before him of his rights to the crown, and when he looked 
on the man who had brought him to a shelter from the raging terrors 
of the night, his conscience doubly smote him, for from the hour of 
his elevation to that of his downfall he had ever persecuted the family 
of Wallace. He, her king, had resigned her into the hands of an 
usurper, but the injured Wallace had arisen like a star of light on 
the darkness of her captivity, and Scotland was once more free. To 
these young men, so strangely brought before him, and both of whom 


he had wronged, he determined immediately to reveal himself, and 
see whether they were as resentful of injuries as those he had served 
had proved ungrateful for benefits received. He spoke, and when, 
instead of seeing the pair rise in indignation on his pronouncing his 
name, they bowed their heads and sat in respectful silence, his deso- 
late heart expanded at once, and he burst into tears. He caught the 
hand of Bruce, who sat nearest to him, and stretching out the other to 
Wallace, exclaimed, "I have not deserved this goodness from either 
of you. Perhaps you two are the only men now living whom I ever 
greatly injured, and you, excepting my four poor attendants, are 
perhaps the only men living who would compassionate my mis- 

"These are lessons, king," returned Wallace with reverence, "to 
fit you for a better crown. And never in my eyes did the descendant 
of Alexander seem so worthy of his blood." The grateful monarch 
pressed his hand. Bruce continued to gaze on him with a thousand 
awful thoughts occupying his mind. Baliol read in his countenance 
the reflections which chained his tongue. "Behold how low is laid 
the proud rival of your grandfather !" exclaimed he, turning to Bruce. 
"I bartered the liberties of my country for a crown I knew not how 
to wear, and was repaid with a prison. There I expiated my crime 
against the upright Bruce. Not one of all the Scottish lords who 
crowded Edward's court came to beguile a moment of sorrow from 
their captive monarch. Lonely I lived, for the tyrant even deprived 
me of the comfort of seeing my fellow-prisoner, Lord Douglas, he 
whom attachment to my true interests had betrayed to an English 
prison. I never saw him after the day of his being put into the 
tower until that of his death." Wallace interrupted Baliol with an 
exclamation of surprise. "Yes," added he, "I myself closed his 
eyes. At that awful hour he had petitioned to see me, and the boon 
was granted. I went to him, and then with his dying breath he 
spoke truths to me which were indeed messengers from heaven ; they 
taught me what I was and what I might be. Edward was then in 
Flanders, and you, brave Wallace, being triumphant in Scotland, 
and laying such a stress in your negotiations for the return of Doug- 
las, the Southron cabinet agreed to conceal his death, and by making 
his name an instrument to excite your hopes and fears, turn your 
anxiety for him to their own advantage." 

A deep scarlet kindled over the face of Bruce. "With what a 
race have I been so long connected! what mean subterfuges, what 
dastardly deceits, for the leaders of a great nation to adopt!" He 
rose in agitation. Baliol followed him with his eyes, "Amiable 


Bruce! you too severely arraign a fault that was venial in you. Your 
father gave himself to Edward, and his son accompanied the tribute." 
Bruce vehemently answered, "If King Edward ever said that, he 
uttered a falsehood. My father loved him, confided in him, and the in- 
grate betrayed him. His fidelity was no gift of himself, in acknowl- 
edgement of inferiority; it was the pledge of a friendship exchanged 
on equal terms on the fields of Palestine. But my father found 
liberty in the grave, and I am ready to take a sure revenge in" — he| 
would have added "Scotland," but he forebore to give the last blow 
to the unhappy Bahol by showing him that his kingdom had indeed 
passed from him, and that the man was before him who might be 
destined to wield his scepter. 

"Hesitate not," said Baliol, "to say where you will take your re- 
venge. I know that the brave Wallace has laid open the way. Had 
I possessed such a leader of my troops, I should not now be a mendi- 
cant in this hovel. Wear him, Bruce, wear him in your heart's core. 
He gives the throne he might have filled." — "Make not that a subject 
of praise," cried Wallace, "which if I had left undone would have 
stamped me a traitor. I have only performed my duty, and may 
God guide Bruce to his kingdom, and keep him there in peace and 

Baliol rose in his bed at these words. "Bruce," said he, "approach 
me near." He obeyed. The feeble monarch turned to Wallace. 
"You have supported what was my kingdom through its last strug- 
gles for liberty. Put forth your hand and support its exiled sovereign 
in his last regal act." Wallace raised the king so as to enable him 
to assume a kneeling posture. Dizzy with the exertion, for a moment 
he rested on the shoulder of the chief, and then, looking up, he met 
the eye of Bruce gazing on him with compassionate interest. The 
unhappy monarch stretched out his arms to heaven. "May God 
pardon the injuries which my fatal ambition did to you and yours, 
the miseries I brought upon my country, and let your reign redeem 
my errors. May the spirit of wisdom bless you, my son!" His hands 
wei-e now laid with pious fervor on the head of Bruce, who sank on 
his knees before him. "Whatever rights I had to the crown of Scot- 
land, by the worthlessness of my reign they are forfeited, and I re- 
sign air unto you, even to the participation of the mere title of king." * 
Exhausted by his feelings, he sank back into the arms of Wallace. 

Memory was now busy with the thoughts of Bruce. He remem- 
bered his father's weak devotion at that time to the interests of 

* This renunciation of Baliol's in fnvor of Bruce is an historical fact, and it was made in 


Edward. He remembered his heartwrung death, and looking at the 
desolate old age of another of Edward's victims, his brave soul melted 
to pity and regret, and he retired into a distant part of the room to 
shed, unobserved, the tears he could not restrain. Wallace soon after 
saw the eyes of the exhausted king close in sleep, and cautious of 
awakening him he did not stir, but leaning against the thick oaken 
frame of the bed, was soon lost in as deep a repose. 



The entrance of the old woman about an hour after sunrise awak- 
ened Wallace, but Baliol continued to sleep. On the chief's opening 
his eyes, Bruce, with a smile, stretched out his hand to him. Wal- 
lace rose, and, whispering the widow to abide by her guest till they 
should return, the twain went forth to enjoy the confidence of friend- 
ship. A wood opened its arms at a little distance, and thither, over 
the dew-bespangled grass, they bent their way. The birds sang from 
tree to tree, and Wallace, seating himself under a beech which can- 
opied a narrow winding of the river Seine, listened with mingled 
pain and satisfaction to the communications which Bruce had to im- 
part relative to the recent scenes at Durham. 

"So rapid have been the events," observed the Scottish prince when 
he concluded his narrative, "that all appears to me a troubled vision; 
and blest indeed was the awakening of last night when your voice, 
sounding from the room below that in which I slept, called me to 
embrace my best friend." 

The discourse next turned on their future plans. Wallace, nar- 
rating his adventure with the Red Reaver and the acknowledgments 
of Philip for the rescue of his son, proposed that the favor he should 
ask in return (the King of France being earnest to bestow on him 
some mark of gratitude) should be his interference with Edward to 
grant the Scots a peaceable retention of their rights. "In that case, 
my prince," said he, "you will take possession of your kingdom with 
the olive-branch in your hand." Bruce smiled, but shook his head. 
"And what, then, will Robert Bruce be? A king, to be sure, but a 
king without a name. Who won me my kingdom? Who accomplished 
this peace? Was it not William Wallace? I am not jealous of your 
fame, Wallace; but I would prove my right to the crown by deeds 
worthy of a sovereign. Till I have shown myself in the field against 
Scotland's enemies, I cannot consent to be restored to my inheritance, 
even by you." 

They discoursed until morning was advanced, and then turned 
towards the cottage, intending to see Baliol safe, and afterward pro- 
ceed together to Guienne to the rescue of Lady Helen. That ac- 



complished, they would visit Paris and learn whether King Philip 
would further their designs. 

On entering the humble mansion, they found Baliol awake and 
anxiously inquiring of the widow what was become of the two knights. 
At sight of them he stretched out his hands to both, and said he 
should be able to travel in a few hours. Wallace proposed sending 
to Rouen for a litter to carry him the more easily thither. "No," 
cried Baliol with a frown, "Rouen shall never see me again within its 
walls. It was coming from thence that I lost my way last night, and 
though my poor servants would gladly have returned with me sooner 
than see me perish in the storm, yet rather would I have been found 
dead on the road, a reproach to the kings who have betrayed me, 
than have taken an hour's shelter in that inhospitable city." 

While the friends took the simple breakfast prepared for them 
by the widow, Baliol related that in consequence of the interference 
of Philip le Bel with Edward he had been released from the Tower 
of London and sent to France, but under an oath never to leave that 
country. Philip gave the exiled king the castle of Galliard for a 
residence, where for some time he enjoyed the shadow of royalty, 
having still a sort of court composed of his own noble followers. 
Philip allowed him guards and a splendid table, but on the peace 
being signed between France and England, the French monarch 
consented to relinquish the cause of Baliol, and though he should con- 
tinue to grant him a shelter in his dominions, he removed from him 
all the appendages of a king. 

"Accordingly," continued Baliol, "the guard was taken from 
my gates, my establishment reduced to that of a private nobleman, 
and no longer having it in my power to gratify the avidity of those 
who came about me, I was soon left nearly alone. In vain I re- 
monstrated with Philip; either my letters never reached him or he 
disdained to answer me. Things were in this state when the other 
day an English lord found it convenient to bring his suite to my 
castle. I received him with hospitality, but soon found that what I 
gave in courtesy he seized as a right. And on my attempting to 
plead with him for a Scottish lady, whom his passions have forced 
from her country, he derided my arguments, telling me that had 
I taken care of my kingdom, the door would not have been left open 
for him to steal its fairest prize '* 

Wallace interrupted him — "Heaven grant you may be speaking 
of Lord de Valence and Lady Helen Mar!" — "I am," replied Baliol; 
"they are now at Galliard, and as her illness seems a lingering one, 
De Valence declared to me his intentions of continuing there. He 


seized upon the best apartments and carried himself with so much 
haughtiness that, provoked beyond endurance, I ordered my horse, 
and accompanied by my honest courtiers rode to Rouen to obtain 
redress from the governor. But the unworthy Frenchman advised 
me to go back, and by flattering De Valence, try to regain the favor 
of Edward. I retired in indignation, determining to assert my rights 
in my own castle ; but the storm overtook me, and being forsaken by 
false friends, I am saved by generous enemies." 

Wallace explained his errand respecting Lady Helen, and anx- 
iously inquired of Bahol whether he meant to return to Galliard. 
"Immediately," replied he; "go with me, and if the lady consent, 
which I do not doubt, for she scorns his prayers for her hand and 
passes night and day in tears, I engage to assist in her escape." 

Baliol then advised they should not all return to the castle to- 
gether, the sight of two knights of their appearance accompanying 
his host being likely to alarm De Valence. "The quietest way," 
continue the deposed king, "is the surest. Follow me at a short dis- 
tance, and towards evening knock at the gates and request a night's 
entertainment. I will grant it, and then your happy destiny, Wal- 
lace, must do the rest." 

This scheme being approved a litter of hurdles was formed for 
the invalid monarch, and the old woman's pallet spread upon it. 
"I will return it to you, my good widow," said Baliol, "and with 
proofs of my gratitude." The two friends assisted the king to rise. 
When he set his foot to the floor he felt so surprisingly better that 
he thought he could ride the journey. Wallace overruled this wish, 
and, with Bruce, supported his emaciated figure towards the door. 
The widow stood to see her guests depart. As Baliol mounted he 
slid a piece of gold into her hand. Wallace saw not what the king 
had given and gave a purse as his reward. Bruce had naught to 
bestow. He had left Durham with little, and that little was ex- 
pended. "My good widow," said he, "I am poor in everything but 
gratitude. In lieu of gold, you must accept my prayers." — "May 
they, sweet youth," replied she, "return on your own head, giving you 
bread from the barren land and water out of the sterile rock!" Wal- 
lace pressed the old woman's withered hand, Bruce did the same. She 
saw them mpunt their horses, and when they disappeared from her 
eyes she returned into her cottage and wept. 

When Baliol arrived within a few miles of Chateau Galliard he 
pointed to the forest, and told the friends that they had best shelter 
themselves there till the sun set, soon after which he should expect 
them at the castle. 


Long indeed seemed the interval. In all Wallace's warlike ex- 
ploits each achievement had immediately followed the moment of 
resolve ; but here he was delayed, as he contemplated an essay in which 
every generous principle of man was summoned into action. He 
was going to rescue a helpless woman from the hands of a man of 
violence and she was also the daughter of his first ally in the great 
struggle for Scotland. Glad was he then to see the sun sink behind 
the distant hills. At that moment he and his friend closed their 
visors, mounted their horses, and set off on full speed towards the 

When they came in view of the antique towers of Galliard they 
slackened their pace and leisurely advanced to the gates. The bugle 
of Wallace demanded admittance; a courteous assent was brought 
by the warder, the gates unfolded, the friends entered, and in the 
next instant they were conducted into a room where Baliol sat. De 
Valence was walking to and fro in a great chafe. He started at 
sight of the princely armor of Wallace, for he, as Baliol had done, 
now conceived from the lilied diadem that the stranger must be of 
the royal house of France; and composing his spirit, he bowed re- 
spectfully to the supposed prince. Wallace returned the salutation, 
and Baliol, rising, accosted him with a dignified welcome. He saw 
the mistake of De Valence, and perceived how it might facilitate the 
execution of their project. 

On his host's return to the chateau De Valence had received him 
with more than his former insolence, for the governor of Rouen had 
sent him information of the despised monarch's discontent, and when 
the despotic lord heard a bugle at the gate, and learned that it was 
answered by the admission of two traveling knights, he flew to Baliol 
in displeasure, commanding him to recall his granted leave. At the 
moment of his wrath Wallace entered and covered him with con- 
fusion. Struck at seeing a French prince in one of the persons he 
was going to treat with such indignity, he shrank into himself, and 
bowed before him with all the meanness of a base soul. Wallace 
bent his head in acknowledgment, with a majesty which convinced 
the earl that he was not mistaken. Baliol welcomed his guest in a 
manner not to dispel the illusion. 

"Happy am I," cried he, "that the hospitality which John Baliol 
intended to show to a mere traveler confers on him the distinction of 
serving one of a race whose favor confers protection, and its friend- 
ship, honor." Wallace returned a gracious reply to this speech, and 
turning to Bruce, said, "This knight is my friend, and though neither 
of us chooses to disclose our names during our journey, yet, whatever 


they may be, I trust you will confide in the word of one whom you 
have honored by the address you have now made, and believe that his 
friend is not unworthy the hospitalities of him who was once King 
of Scots." 

De Valence now approached, and announcing who he was, as- 
sured the knights in the name of the King of England, whom he 
was going to represent in Guienne, of every respect from himself 
and assistance from his retinue to bring them properly on their way. 
"I return you the thanks due to your courtesy," replied Wallace, 
"and shall certainly remain to-night a burden on King Baliol; but 
in the morning we must depart as we came, having a vow to perform 
which excludes the service of attendants." 

A splendid supper was served, at the board of which De Valence 
sat as well as Baliol. From the moment that the strangers entered 
the English earl never withdrew, so cautious was he to prevent Baliol 
informing his illustrious guests of the captivity of Lady Helen Mar. 
Wallace ate nothing; he sat with his visor still closed, and almost in 
profound silence, never speaking but when spoken to, and then only 
answering in as few words as possible. De Valence supposed that 
this taciturnity was connected with his vow, and did not further re- 
mark it; but Bruce (who at Caen had furnished himself with a com- 
X)lete suit of black armor) appeared, though equally invisible under 
his visor, infinitely more accessible. The humbler fashion of his 
accouterment did not announce tlie prince, but his carriage was so 
noble, his conversation so accomplished, that De Valence did not 
doubt that both the men before him were of the royal family. He 
had never seen Charles de Valois, and believing that he now saw him 
in Wallace, he directed all that discourse to Bruce which he meant 
should reach the ear of De Valois, and from him pass to that of the 
King of France. Bruce guessed what was passing in his mind, and 
with as much amusement as design, led forward the earl's mistake. 

Notwithstanding Baliol's resolution to keep awake and assist his 
friends in their enterprise, he was so overcome by fatigue that he 
fell asleep soon after supper, and so gave de Valence opportunity to 
unveil his mind to the Scottish chiefs. Wallace now saw that the 
execution of his project must depend wholly upon himself, and how 
to inform Helen that he was in the castle, and of his ])lan to get her 
out of it, hardly occupied him more than what to devise to detain 
De Valence in the banqueting-room while he went forth to prosecute 
his design. As these thoughts absorbed him, by an unconscious move- 
ment he turned towards the English earl. De Valence paused and 
looked at him, supposing he was going to speak, but finding him still 


silent the earl addressed him, though with some hesitation. "I seek 
not, illustrious stranger," said he, "to inquire the name you have in- 
timated must be concealed, but I have sufficient faith in that brilliant 
circlet around your brows to be convinced (as none other than the 
royal hand of Philip could bestow it) that it distinguishes a man 
of the first honor. You now know my sentiments, prince, and for 
the advantage of both kings I confide them to your services." Wal- 
lace rose. "Whether I am prince or vassal," replied he, "my services 
shall ever be given in the cause of justice, and of that. Earl de 
Valence, you will be convinced when next you hear of me. My 
friend," cried he, turning to Bruce, "you will remain with our host; 
] go to perform the vigils of my vow." 

Bruce understood him. It was not merely with their host he 
was to remain, but to detain De Valence, and opening at once the 
powers of his mind, the magnificence of his views in policy cor- 
roborated to De Valence the idea that he was conversing with one 
whose birth had placed him beyond ambition. Bruce, in his turn, 
listened with interest to all De Valence's dreams of aggrandizement, 
and recollecting his reputation for a love of wine, he replenished 
the earl's goblet so often that the fumes made him forget all reserves ; 
and after pouring forth the whole history of his attachment to Helen, 
and his resolution to subdue her abhorrence, he at last fell fast asleep. 

Meanwhile, Wallace wrapped himself in Baliol's blue cloak which 
lay in the ante-room, and enveloping even his helmet in the friendly 
mantle, he moved swiftly along the gallery towards the chamber of 
Helen. To be prepared for obstacles, he had obtained from Baliol 
a particular description of the situation of every apartment leading 
to it. It was now within an hour of midnight. He passed through 
several large vacant rooms, and at last arrived at the important door. 
It opened into a small chamber, in which two female attendants lay 
asleep. He gently raised the latch, and, with caution, taking the 
lamp which burned on the table, glided softly through the curtains 
which filled the cedar arch that led into the apartment of Helen. He 
approached the bed, covering the light with his hand while he ob- 
served her. She was in a profound sleep, but pale as the sheet which 
enveloped her; her countenance seemed troubled, her brows fre- 
quently knit themselves, and she started as she dreamed, as if in 
apprehension. Suddenly she awoke; she looked up; she believed her 
dream realized: De Valence leaning over her bed, and herself wholly 
in his power! A shriek of horror was bursting from her lips when 
Wallace hastily raised his visor. At the moment when despair was 
in her heart, she met the eyes dearest to her on earth — those of her 


father's friend. Stretching forth her arms, for an instant she seemed 
flying to the protection of him to whose honor she had been be- 
queathed; but falUng back again on her bed, the surprise shook her 
with such emotion that Wallace feared to see her sink into some deadly 
swoon. Alarmed for the accomplishment of her deliverance, he threw 
himself on his knees beside her and whispered, "Be composed, for 
the love of Heaven and your own safety. Be firm, and you shall 
fly this place with me to-night." Hardly conscious of the action 
Helen grasped the hand that held hers, and would have replied, but 
her voice failing, she fainted on his arm. Wallace now saw no al- 
ternative but to remove her hence, even in this insensible state, and 
raising her gently in his arms, enveloped in the silk coverlid, with 
cautious steps he bore her through the curtained entrance, and past 
the sleeping damsels, into the ante-rooms. To meet any of De 
Valence's men, while in this situation, would betray all. To avoid 
this he hastened through the passages, and turning into the apart- 
ment appointed for himself, laid the now reviving Helen upon a 
couch. "Water," said she, "and I shall soon be myself again." He 
gave her some; and at the same time laying a page's suit of clothes 
(which Baliol had provided) beside her, "Dress yourself in these, 
Lady Helen," said he; "I shall withdraw, meanwhile, into the pas- 
sage; but your safety depends on expedition." 

Before Helen could answer he had disappeared and, obeying 
Wallace, the moment she was equipped she laid her hand upon the 
latch; but the watchful ear of her friend heard her, and he immedi- 
ately opened the door. The lamps of the gallery shone full upon 
the light grace of her figure, as shrinking with modesty, and yet 
eager to be with her preserver, she stood hesitating before him. He 
threw his cloak over her, and putting her arm through his, in the 
unobscured blaze of his princely armor he descended to the lower 
hall of the castle. One man only was there. Wallace ordered him 
to open the great door. "It is a fine night," said he, "and I shall 
ride some miles before I sleep." The man asked if he were to saddle 
the horses; he answered in the affirmative; and the gate being im- 
mediately unbarred Wallace led his precious charge into the freedom 
of the open air. As soon as she saw the outside of those towers, 
which she had entered as the worst of all prisoners, her heart so over- 
flowed with gratitude to her deliverer that, sinking by his side upon 
her knees, she could only grasp his hand and bathe it with the tears 
of innocence. 

The man now brought the horses from the stable. He knew that 
two strangers had arrived at the castle, and not noticing Helen's 


stature, supposed they were both before him. He had been informed 
by the servants that the taller of the two was the Count de Valois, 
and he held the stirrup for him to mount. But Wallace placed Helen 
on Bruce's horse, and then vaulting on his own put a piece of gold 
into the attendant's hand. "You will return, noble prince?" inquired 
the man. "Why should you doubt it?" answered Wallace. "Be- 
cause," replied the servant, "I wish the brother of the King of France 
to know the foul deeds which are doing in his dominions." — "By 
whom?" asked Wallace, surprised at this address. "By the Earl de 
Valence, prince," answered he; "he has now in this castle a beautiful 
lady whom he brought from a foreign land and treats in a manner 
unbecoming a knight or a man." — "And what would you have me 
do?" said Wallace. "Come in the power of your royal brother," an- 
swered he, "and demand the Lady Helen Mar of Lord de Valence." 

Helen, who had listened with trepidation to this dialogue, drew 
nearer Wallace, and whispered, "Ah, let us hasten away." The man 
was close enough to hear her. "Hah !" cried he, in a burst of doubtful 
joy, "is she here? Say so, noble knight, and Joppa Grimsby will 
serve ye both forever!" — "Grimsby!" cried Helen, recollecting his 
voice the moment he had declared his name. "What ! the honest Eng- 
lish soldier? I and my preserver will indeed value so trusty a fol- 

The name of Grimsby was too familiar to the memory of Wallace 
for him not to recognize it with melancholy pleasure. He had never 
seen Grimsby, but he knew him well worthy of his confidence, and 
ordered him to bring two more horses from the stables. When they 
were brought Wallace made the joyful signal concerted with Bruce 
and Baliol — to sound the Scottish pryse as soon as he and his fair 
charge were out of the castle. 

The sound met the ear of the prince while anxiously watching 
the sleep of De Valence, for fear he should awake and interrupt Wal- 
lace in his enterprise. What then was his transport when the first 
note of the horn burst upon the silence around him! He sprang on 
his feet. The impetuosity of the action roused Baliol, who had been 
lying all the while sound asleep in his chair. Bruce made a sign to 
him to be silent, and, pressing his hand with energy, forgot the for- 
mer Baliol in the present, and for a moment bending his knee kissed 
the hand he held, then rising, disappeared in an instant. 

He flew through the open gates. Wallace perceiving him, rode 
out from under the shadow of the trees. The bright light of the 
moon shone on his sparkling crest ; that was sufficient for Bruce, and 
Wallace, falling back again into the shade, was joined the next mo- 


merit by his friend. Who this friend was for whom her deliverer had 
told Helen he waited she did not ask, for she dreaded while so near 
danger to breathe a word, but she guessed that it must be either 
Murray or Edwin. De Valence had barbarously told her that not 
only her father was no more, but that her uncles the Lords Bothwell 
and Ruthven had both been killed in the last battle. As Bruce ap- 
proached, his black mantle so wrapped him she could not distinguish 
his figure. Wallace stretched forth his hand to him in silence, he 
grasped it with the warm congratulation of friendship, and throwing 
himself on his horse triumphantly exclaimed, "Xow for Paris!" 
Helen recognized none she knew in that voice, and drawing close to 
the white courser of Wallace, with something like disappointment 
mingling with her happier thoughts, she made her horse keep pace 
vTith the fleetness of her companions. 



Avoiding the frequented track to Paris, Wallace took a sequestered 
path by the banks of the Marne, and entered the forest of Vin- 
cennes just as the moon set. Having ridden far and without cessa- 
tion, Grimsby proposed their alighting, to allow the lady an oppor- 
tunity of reposing awhile under the trees. Helen was indeed nearly 
exhausted; though the idea of her happy flight for a long time had 
kept her insensible to fatigue. 

"I want no rest," she replied to Grimsby. "I could feel none till 
we are beyond the possibility of being overtaken." "You are safe 
in this wood, lady," returned the soldier. "It is many miles from 
the chateau, and lies in so remote a direction that were the earl to 
pursue us, I am sure he would never choose this path." — "And did he 
even come up with us, dear Lady Helen," said Wallace, "could you 
fear when with your father's friend?" — "It is for my father's friend 
I fear," gently answered she; "I can have no dread for myself while 
under such protection." 

A very little more persuaded Helen, and Grimsby having spread 
his cloak on the grass, Wallace lifted her from the horse. As soon 
as she put her foot to the ground, her head grew^ giddy, and she must 
liave fallen but for the supporting arm of her watchful friend. He 
carried her to the couch prepared by the good soldier, and laid her 
on it. Grimsby had been more provident than they could have ex- 
pected; for after saddling the second pair of horses, he had returned 
into the hall for his cloak, and taking an undrawn flask of wine from 
the supper-table, put it into his vest. This he now produced, and 
Wallace made Helen drink some of it. The cordial revived her, 
and sinking on her pillow of leaves, she soon found the repose her 
wearied frame demanded. For fear of disturbing her, not a word 
was spoken. Wallace watched at her head and Bruce at her feet, 
while Grimsby remained with the horse, as a kind of outpost. 

Sweet was her sleep, for the thoughts with which she sank into 
slumber occupied her dreams, but some wild animal, in its nightly 
prowl, crossing before the horses, they began to snort and plunge, 
and it was with difficulty the management of Grimsby could quiet 



them. The noise suddenly awoke Helen, and her scattered faculties 
not immediately recollecting themselves, she felt an instant impres- 
sion that all had indeed been but a dream, and exclaimed, "Wallace, 
where art thou?" — "Here," cried he, pressing her hand, "I am here; 
you are safe with your friend and brother." Her heart beat with a 
terror which this assurance could hardly subdue. At last she said in 
an agitated voice, "Forgive me if my senses are a little strayed. This 
release seems so miraculous that at moments I hardly believe it real." 

"What you feel, lady, is only natural," observed Bruce. "I ex- 
perienced the same when I first regained my liberty and found myself 
on the road to join Sir William Wallace." — "Who speaks to me?" 
said Helen, in a low voice to Wallace. "One," answered Wallace, 
in the same tone, "who is not to be publicly known until occasion 
demands it, — one who I trust in God will one day seal the happiness 
of Scotland, — Robert Bruce." 

The answer which she made to the reply of Wallace was spon- 
taneous, and it struck upon the heart of Bruce. "How long," said 
she, "have you promised Scotland it should see that day!" 

"Long, to my grief. Lady Helen," rejoined Bruce; "I would 
say to my shame, had I ever intentionally erred towards my country ; 
but ignorance of her state and of the depth of Edward's treachery 
was my crime. I only required to be shown the right path to pursue 
it, and Sir William Wallace came to point the way." The words 
were sufficient to impress Helen with that respect he deserved, and 
which her answer showed. "]My father taught me to consider the 
Bruce the rightful heirs of Scotland, and now that I see the day 
which he so often wished to hail, I cannot but regard it as the ter- 
mination of Scotland's woes. If my country be to rest under the 
happy reign of Robert Bruce, then envy cannot again assail Sir 
William Wallace, and my father has not shed his blood in vain. His 
spirit, with those of my uncles Bothwell and Ruthven, will rejoice 
in such a peace." Surprised at her associating the name of Lord 
Ruthven with those who had fallen, Wallace interrupted her with the 
assurance of her uncle's safety. The Scottish chiefs easily under- 
stood that De Valence had given her the opposite intelligence, to 
impress her with an idea that she was friendless, and so precipitate 
her into the determination of becoming his wife ; but she did not re- 
peat to her brave auditors all the arguments he had used to shake her 
heart. He had told her that the very day in which she would give 
him her hand, King Edward would send him viceroy into Scotland, 
where she should reign with all the power and magnificence of a 
queen. He was handsome, accomplished, and adored her; but Helen 


could not love him whom she could not esteem. She had seen and 
known the virtues of Sir William Wallace, and from that hour all 
that was excellent in man seemed to her to be in him summed up. 

Every word which this adored friend now said to comfort her 
with regard to her own losses, to assure her of the peace of Scot- 
land, took root in her soul and sprang up into resignation and hap- 
piness. She listened to the plans of Wallace and of Bruce, and 
the hours of the night passed to her not only in repose, but in en- 
joyment. Wallace, though pleased with the interest she took in 
even the minutest details of their design, became fearful of over- 
tasking her weakened frame; he whispered Bruce gradually to drop 
tlie conversation, and slumber again stole over her eyelids. 

The dawn had spread far over the sky while she yet slept. Wal- 
lace sat contemplating her and the now sleeping Bruce, who had 
also imperceptibly sunk to rest. He had hardly seen seven-and- 
twenty years, yet so had he been tried in the vicissitudes of life that he 
felt as if he had lived a century, and instead of looking on the lovely 
Helen as on one whose charms might claim a lover's wishes, he re- 
garded her with sentiments more like parental tenderness. That, 
indeed, seemed the affection which now reigned in his bosom, for he 
felt as a father towards Scotland. 

The shades of night vanished before the uprise of the king of day, 
and with them Helen's slumbers. She stirred, she awoke. The lark 
was then soaring with shrill cadence over her head ; its notes pierced 
the ear of Bruce, and he started on his feet. "You have allowed 
me to sleep, Wallace?" — "And why not?" replied he. "Here it was 
safe for all to have slept. Yet had there been danger I was at my 
post to have called you." 

The morning vapors having dispersed and Helen refreshed by 
her long repose, Wallace seated her on horseback and they recom- 
menced their journey. The helmets of both chiefs were now open. 
Grimsby looked at one and the other: the countenance of both as- 
sured him that he should find a protector in either. He drew towards 
Helen ; she noticed his manner, and observing to Wallace that she be- 
lieved the soldier wished to speak with her, checked her horse. At 
this action Grimsby presumed to ride up, and, bowing respectfully, 
said that before he followed her to Paris it would be right for the 
Count de Valois to know whom he had taken into his train; "one, 
madam, who has been degraded by King Edward — degraded," added 
he, "but not debased. That last disgrace depends on myself, and 
I should shrink from your protection rather than court it, were I 
indeed vile." — "I have too well proved your integrity, Grimsby," 


replied Helen, "to doubt it now; but what has the Count de Valois 
to do with your being under my protection? It is not to him we 
go, but to the French king." — "And is not that knight with the dia- 
dem," inquired Grimsby, "the Count de Valois? The servants at 
Chateau Galliard told me he was so." Surprised at this, Helen said 
the knight should answer for himself, and, quickening the steps of 
her horse, followed by Grimsby, rejoined his side. 

When she informed Wallace of what had passed, he called the 
soldier to approach. "Grimsby," said he, "you have claims upon me 
which should ensure you my protection, were I not already your 
friend. You have only to speak, and all in my power to serve you 
shall be done." — "Then, sir," returned he, "as mine is a melancholy 
story, and parts of it have already drawn tears from Lady Helen, 
if you will honor me with your attention apart from her I would 
relate how I fell into disgrace with my sovereign." 

Wallace fell a little back with Grimsby, and while Bruce and 
Helen rode briskly forward, he, at a slower pace, prepared to listen 
to the recapitulation of scenes in which he was only too deeply in- 
terested. The soldier began by narrating the fatal events at El- 
lerslie which had compelled him to leave the army in Scotland and 
related that after quitting the priory of St. Fillan he reached Guienne, 
and there served under the Earl of Lincoln until the marriage of 
Edward with King Philip's sister gave the English monarch quiet 
possession of that province. Grimsby went on to recount his recog- 
nition by one of Heselrigge's captains who accused him of mutiny 
and treason and his sentence to death for these alleged crimes. He 
related his escape from prison and the manner in which he had been 
enabled to take refuge at Chateau Galliard. 

"This," added Grimsby, "is my story, and whoever you are, noble 
lord, if you think me not unworthy your protection, grant it, and 
you shall find me faithful unto death." 

"I owe you that and more," replied the chief. "I am that Wal- 
lace on whose account you fled your country, and if you be willing 
to share the fortunes of one who may live and die in camps, I pledge 
you that my destiny shall be yours." Could Grimsby have thrown 
himself at the feet of Wallace, he would have done so; but taking 
hold of the end of his scarf, he pressed it to his lips and exclaimed, 
"This is beyond my prayers, to meet here the triumphant lord of 
Scotland. I fell innocently into disgrace; ah, how am I now exalted 
unto honor! My country would have deprived me of life; I am 
therefore dead to it, and live only to gratitude and you." — "Then," 
replied Wallace, "as the first proof of the confidence I repose in you, 


know that the young chief who Is riding forward with Lady Helen 
is Robert Bruce, the Prince of Scotland. Our next enterprise is to 
place him upon the throne of his ancestors. Meanwhile keep our 
names a secret and call us by those we may hereafter think fit to 

Grimsby, once more reinstated in the station he deserved, no 
longer hung his head, but looking erect as one born again from dis- 
grace, he became the active and faithful servant of Wallace. 

During Wallace's conversation with the soldier, Helen was lis- 
tening with delight to the encomiums which Bruce passed upon his 
friend and champion. Before, she had scarcely remarked that he 
was more than young and handsome ; but now, while she contemplated 
the noble confidence which breathed in every feature, she said to her- 
self, "This man is worthy to be the friend of Wallace." 

Bruce remarked the unusual expression of her eyes as she looked 
on him. "You feel all I say of Wallace," said he. And it was not 
a charge at which she had need to blush. 

At this moment Wallace joined them. He saw the animation 
of each countenance, and looked at Bruce with a glance of inquiry 
which carried the wish of a friend to share what had impressed them 
with such happiness. 

"We have been talking of you," returned the prince, "and if to 
be beloved is a source of joy, you must be peculiarly blest. The 
aflPections of Lady Helen and myself made your heart the altar on 
which we have pledged our fraternal love." Wallace regarded each 
with a look of tenderness. "It is my joy to love you both like a 
brother, but Lady Helen must consider me as even more than that 
to her. I am her father's representative ; I am the voice of Scotland 
thanking her for the preservation her exertions yielded. And to 
you, my prince, I am your friend, your subject, all that is devoted 
and true." Thus did these three friends journey towards the gates 
of Paris, and every hour seemed an age of blessedness to Helen. 
Wallace animated the scene, and she moved as if on enchanted 
ground. Hardly did she know w^hat it was to draw any but sighs 
of bliss till she saw the towers of Paris. They reminded her that 
she was now to be occasionally divided from him, that when en- 
tered within those walls it would no longer be deemed decorous for 
her to pass days and nights in listening to his voice. She would 
hardly have acknowledged to herself that what she felt was love, 
had not the anticipation of even an hour's separation from him whis- 
pered the secret to her heart. 



When they were arrived within a short distance from Paris Wallace 
wrote a few lines to King Philip, informing him who were the com- 
panions of his journey, and that he would rest near the abbey of St. 
Genevieve until he should receive his majesty's greetings to Bruce, 
also the queen's granted protection for the daughter of the Earl of 
Mar. Grimsby was the bearer of this letter. He soon returned 
with an escort of honor, accompanied by Prince Louis himself. At 
sight of Wallace he flew into his arms, and after embracing him with 
all the ardor of youthful gratitude, he presented to him a packet from 
the king. 

It expressed the satisfaction of Philip at the prospect of seeing 
the man whose valor had wrought him such service as the preserva- 
tion of his son. He then added that he had other matters to thank 
him for, and subjects to discuss which would be more elucidated by 
the presence of Bruce. "According to your request," continued he, 
"the name of neither shall be made public at my court. My own 
family only know who are to be my illustrious guests. The queen is 
impatient to bid them welcome, and no less eager to gi*eet the Lady 
Helen Mar with her friendship and protection." 

A beautiful palfrey, superbly caparisoned, was led forward by a 
page. Two ladies also, bearing rich apparel for Helen, appeared in 
the train. When their errand was made known to Wallace he com- 
municated it to Helen. Her delicacy indeed wished to lay aside her 
page's apparel before she was presented to the queen — but she had 
been so happy while she wore it ! "Days have passed with me, in these 
garments," said she to herself, "which may never occur again." The 
ladies were conducted to her. They delivered a gracious message 
from their royal mistress, and opened the caskets. Helen sighed; 
she could urge nothing in opposition to their embassy, and assented 
to the change they were to make in her appearance. She stood mute 
while they disarrayed her of her humble guise and clothed her in the 
robes of France. During their attendance, they broke out in en- 
comiums on the graces of her person; but to all this she turned an 
inattentive ear. 


PARIS 377 

One of the women was throwing the page's clothes carelessly into 
a bag, when Helen perceiving her, cried, "Take care of that suit; it 
is more precious to me than gold or jewels." — "Indeed!" answered 
the attendant, more respectfully folding it; "it does not seem of very 
rich silk." — "Probably not," returned Helen; "but it is valuable to 
me, and wherever I lodge I will thank you to put it into my apart- 
ment." A mirror was now presented, that she might see herself. She 
started at the load of jewels with which they had adorned her; and 
while tears filled her eyes, she mildly said, "I am a mourner; these 
ornaments must not be worn by me." The ladies obeyed her wish 
to have them taken off, and she was conducted towards the palfrey. 
Wallace approached her, and Bruce flew forward with his usual haste 
to assist her; but it was no longer the beautiful little page that met 
his view; it was a lovely woman arrayed in all the charms of female 
apparel, trembling and blushing as she again appeared before the 
eyes of the man she loved. Bruce looked at her with delighted won- 
der and held out his hand to her with a cordial smile. "Lady Helen, 
we are still to be the same. Robes of no kind must ever separate 
the affections born in our pilgrimage." She put her hand into his 
with a glow of delight. "While Sir William Wallace allows me to 
call him brother," answered she, "that will ever sanction our friend- 
ship; but courts are formal places, and I now go to one." — "And I 
will soon remove you to another," replied he, "where" — he hesitated, 
and then resumed — "where every wish of my sister Helen's heart 
shall be gratified, or I be no king." Helen blushed deeply and 
hastened towards the palfrey. Wallace placed her on the embroidered 
saddle, and Prince Louis preceding the cavalcade, it moved on. 

As Bruce vaulted into his seat he said something to his friend of 
the beauty of Helen. "But her soul is fairer," returned Wallace. 
The Prince of Scotland, with a gay smile, softly whispered, "Fair, 
doubly fair, to you." Wallace drew a deep sigh. "I never knew 
but one woman who resembled her, and she did indeed excel all others. 
But those hours are past. My heart will never throb as it has throbbed, 
for she who doubled all my joys is gone. Oh, my prince! though 
blest with friendship, there are times when I feel that I am solitary." 
Bruce looked at him with some surprise. "Solitary, Wallace! can you 
ever be solitary and near Helen Mar?" — "Perhaps more so then than 
at any other time, for her excellencies remind me of what were once 
mine, and recall every regret. Oh, Bruce! thou canst not compre- 
hend my loss. I live, but still my heart will mourn." 

"And is love so tenacious?" exclaimed Bruce. "Is it to consume 
your youth, Wallace ? Ah ! am I not to hope that the throne of my 


children may be upheld by a race of thine?" Wallace shook his head, 
but replied, "Your throne and your children's, if they follow your 
example, will be upheld by Heaven." 

In discourse like this the youthful Prince caught a clearer view 
of the inmost thoughts of his friend than he had been able to discern 
before; for war, or Bruce's own interests, having engaged them in all 
their former conversations, Wallace had never been induced to glance 
at the private circumstances of his history. While Bruce sighed in 
pity for Helen, he the more deeply revered his suffering and heroic 

A few hours brought the royal escort to the Louvre, and, through 
a train of nobles. Lady Helen was led by Prince Louis into the regal 
saloon. The Scottish chiefs followed. The queen and the Count 
D'Evereux received Bruce and Helen, while De Valois conducted 
Wallace to the king, who had retired, for the purpose of this confer- 
ence, to his closet. 

At sight of the armor which he had sent to the preserver of his 
son, Philip instantly recognized the Scottish hero, and, rising from 
his seat, hastened forward and clasped him in his arms. "Wonder 
not, august chief," exclaimed he, "at the weakness exhibited in these 
eyes! It is the tribute of nature to a virtue which loads even kings 
with benefits. You have saved my son's life, you have preserved 
from taint the honor of my sister." Philip then proceeded to inform 
his auditor that he had heard from a confessor of Queen Margaret's, 
just arrived from England, all that had lately happened at Edward's 
court, and of Wallace's letter to clear the innocence of that injured 
princess. "She is perfectly reinstated in the king's confidence," added 
Philip, "but I can never pardon the infamy with which he would 
have overwhelmed her. I yield to the prayers of my gentle sister not 
to resent this wrong openly, but in private he shall feel a brother's 
indignation. I do not declare war against him, but ask what you 
will, bravest of men, and were it to place the crown of Scotland on 
your head, demand it of me and it shall be effected." The reply of 
Wallace was simple. He claimed no merit in the justice he had done 
the Queen of England, neither in his rescue of Prince Louis; but as 
a proof of King Philip's friendship he gladly embraced his offered 
services with regard to Scotland. "Not," added he, "to send troops 
into that country against England. Scotland is now free of its South- 
ron invaders; all I require is that you will use your royal influence 
with Edward to allow it to remain so. Pledge your faith, most 
gracious monarch, with my master, the royally descended Bruce, who 
is now in your palace. He will soon assume the crown that is his 

PARIS 379 

right, and with such an ally as France to hold the ambition of Edward 
in check, we may certainly hope that the bloody feuds between Scot- 
land and England may at last be laid at rest." 

Wallace explained to Philip the dispositions of the Scots, the 
nature of Bruce's claims, and the virtues of his youthful character. 
The monarch took fire at the speaker's enthusiasm, and giving him 
his hand, exclaimed, "Wallace, I know not what manner of man you 
are ! You seem born to dictate to kings, while you put aside as things 
of no moment the crowns offered to yourself. You are young, and 
I M^ould say, without ambition, did I not know that your deeds have 
set you above all earthly titles. But to convince me that you do not 
disdain gratitude, at least accept a name in my countrj^ and know 
that the armor you wear, the coronet around your helmet, invested 
you with the rank of a prince of France, and the title of Count of 
Gascony." To have refused this mark of the monarch's esteem would 
have been an act of churlish pride. He graciously accepted the offered 
distinction, and bowing his head, allowed the king to throw the bril- 
liant collar of Gascony over his neck. 

To attach his new count to France was now all the wish of Philip, 
and he closed the conference with every expression of friendship 
which man could deliver to man. Wallace lost not the opportunity 
of pleading for the abdicated King of Scots, and Philip, eager as 
well to evince his resentment to Edward as to oblige Wallace, prom- 
ised to send immediate orders to Normandy that De Valence should 
leave Chateau Galliard, and Baliol be attended with his former state. 

The king then led his guest into the royal saloon, where they found 
the queen seated between Bruce and Helen. At sight of the Scottish 
chief her majesty rose. Philip led him up to her, and Wallace, bend- 
ing his knee, put the fair hand she extended to his lips. "Welcome," 
said she, "bravest of knights, receive a mother's thanks." She clasped 
the hand of her son and his together, and added, "Louis, wherever 
our Count of Gascony advises you to pledge this hand, give it." — 
"Then it will follow mine," cried the king, putting his into that of 
Bruce. "You are Wallace's acknowledged sovereign, young prince, 
and you shall ever find brothers in me and my son. Sweet lady," 
added he, turning to the glowing Helen, "thanks to your charms 
for having drawn this friend of mankind to bless our shores." 

The court knew Wallace merely as Count of Gascony, and to 
preserv^e an equal concealment, Bruce assumed the name of the young 
De Longueville, whom Prince Louis had, in fact, allowed to retire 
to Chartres, there to pass a year of mourning within its penitential 
monastery. Only two persons ever came to the Louvre who could 


recognize Bruce to be other than he seemed, and they were John 
Cummin, the elder twin brother of the present regent of Scotland, 
and James, Lord Douglas. The former had remained in France out 
of dislike to his brother's proceedings, and as Bruce knew him in 
Guienne, and believed him to be a blunt, well-meaning young man, 
he saw no danger in trusting him. The brave son of William Douglas 
was altogether of a nobler mettle, and both Wallace and his prince 
rejoiced at the prospect of receiving him to their friendship. 

Philip opened the affair to the two lords, and having declared 
his designs in favor of Bruce, conducted them into the queen's room, 
and pointing where he stood, "There," cried he, "is the King of Scot- 
land." Douglas and Cummin would have bent their knees to their 
young monarch, but Bruce hastily caught their hands and prevented 
them. "My friends," said he, "regard me as your fellow-soldier only 
till you see me on the throne of my fathers. Till then that is our 
prince," added he, looking on Wallace; "he is my leader, my counselor, 
my example; and if you love me, he must be yours." Douglas and 
Cummin turned towards Wallace at these words. Royalty did indeed 
sit on his brow, but with a majestj^ which spoke only in love and honor. 

Helen had eyes for none but Wallace. Nobles, princes, kings, 
were all involved in one uninteresting mass to her when he was present. 
Yet she smiled on Douglas when she heard him express his gratitude 
to the champion of Scotland for the services he had done a country 
for which his own father had died. Cummin, when he paid his re- 
spects to Wallace, told him that he did so with double pleasure, since 
he had two unquestionable evidences of his unequaled merit: the 
confidence of his father, the Lord Badenoch, and the hatred of his 
brother, the present usurper of that title. 

The king soon after led his guests to the council-room, where a 
secret cabinet was held to settle the future bonds between the two 
kingdoms, and Helen, looking long after the departing figure of 
Wallace, with a pensive step followed the queen to her apartment. 



These preliminaries of lasting friendship being arranged and sworn 
to by Philip, Wallace despatched a messenger to Scotland to Lord 
Riithven at Hunting-tower, informing him of the present dispositions 
with regard to their native land. He made inquiries respecting the 
state of the public mind, and declared his intentions not to introduce 
Bruce amongst his chieftains until he knew exactly how they were 
all disposed. Some weeks passed before a reply to this letter arrived. 
During the time, the health of Helen, which had been much impaired 
by the sufferings inflicted on her by De Valence, gradually recovered, 
and her beauty became the admiration of the French nobles. A new 
scene of royalty presented itself in this gay court to Wallace, for all 
was pageant and chivalric gallantry ; but it had no other effect on him 
than that of exciting those affections which rejoiced in the innocent 
gaieties of his fellow-beings. 

With a natural superiority which looked over these court pastimes 
to objects of greater moment, Bruce merely endured them, but it was 
with an urbanity congenial with his friend's; and while the princes 
of France were treading the giddy mazes of the dance or tilting at 
each other in the mimic war of the tournament, the Prince of Scot- 
land, who excelled in all these exercises, left the field of gallantry 
undisputed, and talked with Wallace or Helen on events which yet 
lay in fate. So accustomed had the friends now been to share their 
thoughts with Lady Helen that they imparted to her their plans, 
and listened with pleasure to her timid, yet judicious, remarks. Her 
soul was inspired with the same zeal for Scotland which animated 
their own breasts; like Bruce's, it was ardent, but like Wallace's, it 
was tempered with moderation. 

The winds of this season of the year being often adverse, Wal- 
lace's messenger did not arrive at his destined port in Scotland till 
the middle of November, and the January of 1299 had commenced 
before his returning bark entered the mouth of the Seine. 

Wallace was alone, when Grimsby, opening the door, announced 
Sir Edwin Ruthven. In a moment the friends were locked in each 
other's arms. Edwin, straining Wallace to his heart, reproached 



him in affectionate terms for having left him behind, and again and 
again he kissed his friend's hand. Wallace answered him with similar 
affection, and learnt from Edwin that he had left the messenger at 
some distance on the road, so impatient was he to embrace his friend 
again and to congratulate his dear cousin on her escape. 

Edwin answered the anxious inquiries of Wallace respecting his 
country by informing him that Badenoch, having arrogated to himself 
the supreme power in Scotland, had determined to take every advan- 
tage of the last victory gained over King Edward. In this resolution 
he was supported by the Lords Athol, Buchan, and Soulis, who 
were returned full of indignation from the court of Durham. Edward 
removed to London, and Badenoch, hearing that he was preparing 
other armies for the subjugation of Scotland, sent ambassadors to 
the Vatican to solicit the Pope's interference. Flattered by this 
appeal, Boniface wrote a letter to Edward exhorting him to refrain 
from further oppressing a country over which he had no lawful power. 
Edward's answer was full of artifice, maintaining his pretensions to 
Scotland, and declaring his determination to consolidate Great Britain 
into one kingdom, or to make the northern part one universal grave. 

"The speedy consequence of this correspondence," Edwin con- 
tinued, "was a renewal of hostilities against Scotland. INIany places 
fell, and battles were fought in which the English were everywhere 
victorious; for," added Edwin, "none of your generals would draw 
a sword under the command of Badenoch, and, alarmed at these dis- 
asters, the Bishop of Dunkeld is gone to Rome to entreat the Pope 
to order your return. The Southrons are advancing into Scotland 
in every direction. They have landed again on the eastern coast, 
they have possessed themselves of all the border counties, and without 
your arm to avert the blow our country must be irretrievably lost. 

Edwin had brought letters from Ruthven and the young Earl of 
Bothwell, which more particularly narrated these ruinous events, 
to enforce every argument to Wallace for his return. They gave it 
as their opinion, however, that he must revisit Scotland under an as- 
sumed name. Did he come openly the jealousy of the Scottish lords 
would be reawakened and the worst of them might put a finishing 
stroke to their country by taking him off by assassination. Ruthven 
and Bothwell, therefore, entreated that, as it was his wisdom as well 
as his valor their country required, he would hasten to Scotland and 
condescend to serve her unrecognized till Bruce should be established 
on the throne. 

While Edwin was conducted to the apartments of Lady Helen, 
Wallace took these letters to his prince. On Bruce being informed 


of the circumstances in which his country lay, and of the wishes of 
its most virtuous chiefs for his accession to the crown, he assented to 
the prudence of their advice with regard to Wallace. "But," added 
he, "our fortimes must be in every respect, as far as we can mold 
them, the same. While you are to serve Scotland under a cloud, so 
will I. At the moment Bruce is proclaimed King of Scotland, Wal- 
lace shall be declared its bravest friend. We will go together, as 
brothers, if you will," continued he. "I am already considered by 
the French nobility as Thomas de Longueville; you may personate 
the Red Reaver. Scotland does not j^et know that he was slain, and 
the reputation of his valor having placed him in the estimation of 
our shores rather in the light of one of their own island Sea-kings 
than in that of his real character, the aid of his name would bring 
no evil odor to our joint appearance. But were you to wear the title 
you bear here, a quarrel might ensue between Philip and Edward, 
which I perceive the former is not willing should occur openly. 
Edward must deem it a breach of their amity, did his brother-in-law 
permit a French prince to appear in arms against him in Scotland. 
But the Reaver being considered in England as outlawed by France, 
no surprise can be excited that he and his brother should fight against 
Philip's ally. We will then assume their characters, and I shall have 
the satisfaction of serving for Scotland before I claim her as my own. 
When we again drive Edward over the borders, on that day we will 
throw off our visors, and Sir William Wallace shall place the crown 
on my head." 

Bruce received Edwin with a welcome which convinced the youth 
that he met a friend, rather than a rival, in the heart of Wallace, and 
every preliminary being settled by the three friends respecting their 
return to Scotland, they repaired to Philip to inform him of Lord 
Ruthven's despatches, and their consequent resolutions. 

The king liked all they said, but urged them to wait the return of 
a second ambassador he had sent to England. Immediately on Wal- 
lace's arrival, Philip had despatched a request to the English king 
that he would grant the Scots the peace which was their right. Not 
receiving any answer he sent another messenger with a more cate- 
gorical demand. The persevered hostilities of Edward against 
Scotland explained the delay. But the king yet hoped for a favorable 
reply, and made such entreaties to Bruce and his friend to remain in 
Paris till it should arrive that they at last granted a reluctant consent. 

At the end of a week the ambassador returned with a conciliatory 
letter to Phihp, but affirming Edward's right to Scotland, declared 


his determination never to lay down his arms till he had again brought 
the whole realm under his scepter. 

Wallace and his royal friend now saw no reason for lingering in 
France, and having visited the young De Longueville at Chartres, 
they apprised him of their intention still further to borrow his name. 
"We will not disgrace it," cried Bruce. "I promise to return it to 
you, a theme for your country's minstrels." When the friends rose to 
depart, the brave and youthful penitent grasped their hands. "You 
go, valiant Scots, to cover with a double glory in the field of honor a 
name which my unhappy brother dyed deep in his own country's 
blood. The tears I weep before this cross for his and my transgres- 
sions have obtained me mercy, and I believe that my brother also is 

At an early hour next day Wallace and Bruce took leave of the 
French king. The queen kissed Helen affectionately, and whispered, 
while she tied a jeweled collar round her neck, that when she returned 
she hoped to add to it the coronet of Gascony. Helen's only reply 
was a sigh, and her eye turned unconsciously on Wallace. He was 
clad in a plain chain suit of black armor, with a red plume in his 
helmet, the ensign of the Reaver whose name he had assumed. All 
of his former habit that he now wore about him was the sword which 
he had taken from Edward. At the moment Helen looked towards 
Wallace, Prince Louis was placing a cross-hilted dagger in his girdle. 
"My deliverer," said he, "wear this for the sake of the descendant of 
St. Louis. It accompanied that holy king through all his wars in 
Palestine. It twice saved him from the assassin's steel, and I pray 
Heaven it may prove as faithful to you." 

Soon after this, Douglas and Cummin entered to pay their part- 
ing respects to the king; and that over, Wallace, taking Helen by 
the hand, led her forth, followed by Bruce and his friends. 

At Havre they embarked for the frith of Tay, and a favorable 
gale driving them through the straits of Calais, they launched out 
into the wide ocean. 



The eighth morning from the day in which the Red Reaver's ship 
was relaunched from the Norman harbor, Wallace, now the repre- 
sentative of that pirate, bearing the white flag of good faith, entered 
between the castled shores of the frith of Tay and cast anchor under 
the towers of Dundee. 

When Bruce leaped upon the beach, he turned to Wallace and 
said with exultation, though in a low voice, "Scotland now receives 
her king. This earth shall cover me, or support my throne." — "It 
shall support your throne and bless it too," replied Wallace; "you 
are come in the power of justice, and that is the power of God." 

The chiefs did not stay long at Dundee where Ruthven still bore 
sway. When they arrived he v/as at Hunting-tower, and thither they 
went. The meeting was fraught with many mingled feelings. Helen 
had not seen her uncle since the death of her father, and as soon as 
the first gratulations were over she retired to an apartment to weep 

On Cummin's being presented to Lord Ruthven, the earl told 
him he must now salute him as Lord of Badenoch, his brother having 
been killed a few days before in a skirmish. Ruthven then turned 
to welcome the entrance of Bruce, who, raising his visor, received 
from the loyal chief the homage due to his sovereign dignity. Wallace 
and the prince soon learned that Scotland did indeed require the royal 
arm and the counsel of its best, and lately almost banished, friends, 
for much of the eastern part of the country was again in the possession 
of Edward's generals. They had seized on every castle in the low- 
lands ; nor could the quiet of reposing age elude the general devasta- 
tion; and after a dauntless defense of his castle, the veteran Knight 
of Thirlestane had fallen and with him his only son. On hearing this 
disaster, the sage of Ercildown, having meanwhile protected Lady 
Isabella Mar at Learmont, conveyed her northward, but falling sick 
at Roslyn he had stopped there. And the messenger he despatched 
to Hunting-tower with these calamitous tidings bore also information 
that an immense army was approaching from Northumberland. 
Ercildown said he understood Sir Simon Eraser was hastening for- 



ward with a small body to attempt cutting off these advanced squad- 
rons. But he added, while the contentions continued between Athol 
and Soulis for the vacant regency, no man could have hope of any 
steady stand against England. 

At this communication, Cmiimin bluntly proposed himself as the 
terminator of this dispute. "If the regency were allowed to my 
brother, as head of the House of Cummin, that dignity now rests 
with me; give the word, my sovereign," said he, addressing Bruce, 
"and none there shall dare oppose my rights." Iluthven approved 
this proposal, and Wallace seconded the advice of Ruthven. Thus 
John Cummin, Lord Badenoch, was invested with the regency, and 
immediately despatched to the army, to assume it as if in right of his 
being the next heir to the throne, in default of the Bruce. 

Meanwhile, as Hunting-tower would be an insecure asylum for 
Helen, Wallace proposed to Edwin that he should escort his cousin 
to Braemer and place her there under the care of his mother and the 
widowed countess. "Thither," continued he, "we will send Lady Isa- 
bella also, should Heaven bless our arms at Roslyn." Edwin 
acquiesced, and Helen, aware that fields of blood were no scenes for 
her, yielded a reluctant assent — not merely to go, but to take that 
look of Wallace which might be the last. 

The sight of her uncle and the objects around had so recalled the 
image of her father that ever since her arrival sadness had hung over 
her spirits. She remembered that a few months ago she had seen that 
beloved parent go out to a battle, whence he never returned. Should 
the same doom await her with regard to Wallace! The idea shook 
her frame with an agitation that overcame her, in spite of herself, 
when Edwin approached to lead her to her horse. "My gentle sister," 
said Wallace, "do not despair of our final success — of the safety of 
all whom you regard." — "Ah! Wallace," faltered she, "but did I 
not lose my father?" — "Sweet Helen!" returned he, tenderly grasping 
her hand ; "you lost him, but he gained by the exchange. Were I to 
fall, my sister, my sorrows would be over, and from the region of 
universal blessedness I should enjoy the sight of Scotland's happi- 

"Were we all to enter those regions at one time," faintly replied 
Helen, "there would be a comfort in such thoughts, but as it is" — 
here she paused, tears stopped her utterance. "A few years is a short 
separation," returned Wallace, "when we are hereafter to be united 
to all eternity. This is my consolation when I think of Marion, and 
whatever may be the fate of those who now survive, call to remem- 
brance my words, dear Helen, and God will send you comfort." 

(_ npi/rnjht hi/ ClnirUs Scrilincr's •Suii.s 

Bruce on the beach 


"Then farewell, my friend, my brother!" cried she, tearing herself 
away and throwing herself into the arms of Edwin; "leave me now, 
and the angel of the just will bring you in glory here or hereafter to 
your sister Helen." Wallace fervently kissed the hand she again 
extended to him, and with an emotion w4iich he had thought he should 
never feel again for mortal woman, left the apartment. 

The day after the departure of Helen, Bruce became impatient 
to take the field, and to indulge this eagerness, Wallace set forth with 
him to meet the returning steps of Ruthven and his gathered legions. 

Having passed along the romantic borders of Invermay, the 
friends descended towards the precipitous banks of the Earn, at the 
foot of the Grampians. In these green labyrinths they wound their 
way till Bruce, who had never before been in such mountain wilds, 
expressed a fear that Wallace had mistaken the track, for this seemed 
far from any human footstep. 

Wallace replied with a smile, "The path is familiar to me as the 
garden of Hunting-tower." 

The day, which had been cloudy, suddenly turned to wind and 
rain, which spread an air of desolation over the scene very dreary to 
an eye accustomed to the fertile plains and azure skies of the south. 
The whole of the road was rough, dangerous, and dreadful. The 
steep and black rocks, towering above their heads, seemed to threaten 
the precipitation of their masses into the path below, but Wallace 
had told Bruce they were in the right track, and he gaily breasted 
both the storm and the perils of the road. 

Enveloped in a sea of vapors, with torrents of water pouring down 
the sides of their armor, the friends descended the western brow of 
this part of the Grampians, until they approached Loch Earn. They 
had hardly arrived there before the rain ceased, and the clouds dis- 
appearing from the side of the mountains, discovered the vast and 
precipitous Ben Vorlich. 

The gray mantle, with which the tops of the mountains had been 
obscured, rolled away towards the w^est, and discovered to the eye of 
Wallace that a hne of light which he had discerned through the mist 
was the host of Ruthven descending Ben Vorlich in defiles. From 
the nature of the path they were obliged to move in a winding direc- 
tion, and as the sun now shone full upon their arms, and their length- 
ened lines gradually extended from the summit of the mountain to 
its base, no sight could contain more of the sublime and Bruce forgot 
his horror of the wastes he had passed over in the joy of beholding 
so noble an army of his countrymen, thus approaching to place him 
upon the throne of his ancestors. 


Lord Ruthven no sooner reached the banks of Loch Earn than 
he espied the prmce and Wallace. He joined them; then marshaling 
his men at the head of that vast body of water, placed himself with 
the two supposed De Longuevilles in the van, and in this array 
marched into Stirlingshire. The young Earl of Fife held the govern- 
ment of the castle and town of Stirling, and as he had been a zealous 
supporter of Lord Badenoch, Bruce negatived Ruthven's proposal 
to send in a messenger for the earl's division of troops. "No, my 
lord," said he, "like my friend Wallace, I will have no divided spirits 
near me ; all must be earnest in my cause !" 

After rapid marches, they arrived safe at Linlithgow, where Wal- 
lace proposed staying a night to refresh the troops, who were now 
joined by Sir Alexander Ramsay, at the head of a thousand of his 
clan. While the men took rest, their chiefs waked to think for them, 
and Wallace, with Bruce and Ruthven, and the brave Ramsay (to 
whom Wallace had revealed himself, but still kept Bruce unknown) , 
were in deep consultation, when Grimsby entered to inform his 
master that a young knight desired to speak with Sir Guy de Longue- 
ville. "His name?" demanded Wallace. "He refused to tell it," 
replied Grimsby, "and wears his beaver shut." Wallace looked around 
with a glance that inquired whether the stranger should be admitted. 
"Certainly," said Bruce; "but first put on your mask." Wallace 
closed his visor, and the moment after Grimsby reentered with a 
knight of elegant mien, habited in a suit of green armor linked with 
gold. He wore a close helmet, from which streamed a long feather 
of the same hue. Wallace rose at his entrance ; the stranger advanced 
to him. "You are he whom I seek. I am a Scot, and a man of few 
words; accept my services; allow me to attend you in this war and 
I will serve you faithfully." Wallace replied, "And who is the brave 
knight to whom Sir Guy de Longueville must owe so great an obliga- 
tion?" — "My name," answered the stranger, "shall not be revealed 
till he who now wears that of the Reaver proclaims his own in the 
day of victory. I know you, sir, but your secret is safe with me. 
Place me to fight by your side and I am yours forever." 

Wallace was surprised by this speech. "I have only one question 
to ask you, noble stranger," replied he, "before I confide a cause 
dearer to me than life in your integrity. How did you become master 
of a secret which I believed out of the power of treachery to betray?" 
— "No one betrayed your secret to me. I came by my information in 
an honorable manner, but the means I shall not reveal till I see the 
time to declare my name, and that, perhaps, may be in the moment 
when the assumed brother of yon young Frenchman," added the 


stranger, turning to Bruce and lowering his voice, *'again appears 
publicly in Scotland as Sir William Wallace." 

"I am satisfied," replied he, well pleased that, whoever this knight 
might be, Bruce yet remained undiscovered. "I grant your request. 
Yon brave youth, whose name I share, forgives me the success of 
my sword. I slew the Red Reaver, and, tlierefore, would restore a 
brother to Thomas de Longueville, in myself. He fights on my right 
hand; you shall be stationed at my left." — "On the side next your 
heart!" exclaimed the stranger; "let that ever be my post!" 

This enthusiasm did not surprise any present; it was the usual 
language of all who approached Sir William Wallace; and Bruce, 
pleased with the energy with which it was uttered, forgot his disguise, 
and half arose to welcome him to his cause ; but a look from Wallace 
arrested his intention, and the prince sat down, thankful for so timely 
a check on his precipitancy. 

In passing the Pentland Hills into Mid-Lothian, the chiefs were 
met by Edwin, who had crossed from the north, and having heard 
no tidings of the Scottish army in the neighborhood of Edinburgh, 
had turned to meet it on the most probable road. Wallace introduced 
him to the Knight of the Green Plume, for that was the appellation 
by which the stranger desired to be known, and then made inquiries 
how Lady Helen had borne the fatigues of her journey to Braemar. 
"Pretty well there," replied he, "but much better back again." He 
then explained that on his arrival with her, neither Lady Mar nor 
his mother would consent to remain so far from the spot where Wal- 
lace was to contend again for the safety of their country. Helen 
did not say anything in opposition to their wishes, and at last Edwin 
yielded to the entreaties of his mother and aunt, to bring them to 
where they might at least not long endure the misery of suspense. 
Having consented, without an hour's delay he set forth with the ladies 
to retrace his steps to Hunting-tower, and there he left them under 
a guard of three hundred men, whom he brought from Braemar for 
that purpose. 

Bruce, whose real name had not been revealed to the other ladies 
of Ruthven's family, in a lowered voice asked Edwin some questions 
relative to the spirits in which Helen had parted with him. "In losing 
her," added he, "my friend and I feel but as part of what we were. 
Her presence ever reminded me of the angelic guard by whom Heaven 
points our way."— "I left her with looks like the angel you speak of," 
answered Edwin; "she bade me farewell upon the platform of the 
eastern tower of the castle. When I gave her the parting embrace 
she raised herself from my breast, and stretching her arms to heaven, 


she exclaimed, 'Bless him, gi*acious God ! bless him and his noble com- 
mander!' " In such discourses the Scottish leaders marched along, 
till, passing before the lofty ridge of the Corstophine Hills, they 
were met by groups of flying peasantry. At sight of the Scottish 
banners they stopped, and informed their armed countrymen that 
the new regent, John of Badenoch, having rashly attacked the South- 
ron army, had suffered defeat, and was in full retreat towards Edin- 
burgh, while the country people fled on all sides before the victors. 

Wallace was at no loss in comprehending how much to believe 
in this panic; but determining, whether great or small the power of 
his adversary, to intercept him at Roslyn, he sent to Cummin and 
to Eraser, the two commanders in the beaten and dispersed armies, 
to rendezvous on the banks of the Esk. The brave troops which 
he led, though ignorant of their real leader, obeyed his directions, 
under an idea they were Lord Ruthven's, who was their ostensible 
general, and steadily pursued their march. Every village and solitary 
cot seemed recently deserted; and through an awful solitude they 
took their rapid way, till the towers of Boslyn castle hailed them as 
a beacon. "There," cried Ramsay, pointing to the embattled rock, 
"stands the fortress of my forefathers! It must this day be made 
famous by the actions performed before its walls." 

Wallace, whose knowledge of this part of the country was not 
quite so familiar as that of Ramsay, learnt sufficient from him to 
decide at once which would be the most favorable position for a small 
band to assume against a large army, and, accordingly disposing his 
troops, which did not amount to more than eight thousand men, he 
despatched one thousand, under the command of Ramsay, to occupy 
the numerous caves in the southern banks of the Esk, whence they 
were to issue in various divisions, and with shouts, on the first appear- 
ance of advantage either on his side or on the enemy's. 

Ruthven, meanwhile, went for a few minutes into the castle to 
embrace his niece, and to assure the venerable Lord of Roslyn that 
assistance approached his beleaguered walls. 

Edwin, who with Grimsby had volunteered the dangerous service 
of reconnoitering the enemy, returned within an hour bringing a 
straggler from the English camp, whose life was promised him on 
condition of his revealing the strength of the advancing army. The 
terrified wretch did not hesitate, and from him they learnt that it 
was commanded by Sir John Segrave and Ralph Confrey, who were 
preparing for a general plundering. And, to sweep the land at 
once, Segrave had divided his army into three divisions, to scatter 
themselves over the country, and everywhere gather in the spoil. To 


be assured of this being the truth, while Grimsby remained to guard 
the prisoner, Edwin went alone into the track he was told the South- 
rons would take, and from. a height he discerned about ten thousand 
of them winding along the valley. With this confirmation of the 
man's account he brought him to the Scottish lines, and Wallace, who 
well knew how to reap advantage from the errors of his enemies, 
being joined by Fraser and the discomfited regent, made the con- 
certed signal to Ruthven. That nobleman immediately pointed out 
to his men the waving colors of the Southron host, as it approached 
beneath the overhanging woods of Hawthorndean. He exhorted 
them by their fathers, wives, and children to breast the enemy at this 
spot, to grapple with him till he fell. "Scotland," cried he, "is lost 
or won this day. Fight stoutly, and God will yield you an invis- 
ible support." 

The Scots answered their general by a shout, and caUing on him 
to lead them forward, Ruthven placed himself with the regent and 
Fraser in the van, and led the charge. Little expecting an assault 
from an adversary they had so lately driven off the field, the South- 
rons were taken by surprise. But they fought well, and resolutely 
stood their ground till Wallace and Bruce, who commanded the 
flanking divisions, closed in upon them with an impetuosity that 
drove Confrey's division into the river. Then the ambuscade of 
Ramsay poured from his caves ; the earth seemed teeming with mailed 
warriors; and the Southrons, seeing the surrounding heights and 
the deep defiles filled with the same terrific appearances, fled with 
precipitation towards their second division, which lay a few miles 
southward. In several points the Southrons gained so greatly the 
advantage that Wallace and Bruce threw themselves successfully 
into those parts where the enemy most prevailed, and by example, 
and prowess, they a thousand times turned the fate of the day. 
Segrave was taken and forty English knights besides. The green 
borders of the Esk were dyed red with Southron blood, and the 
enemy on all sides were calling for quarter, when of a sudden the 
cry of "Havoc and St. George!" issued from the adjoining hill. 
Terror struck to many a Scottish heart. The Southrons, who were 
just giving up their arms, leaped upon their feet. The fight re- 
commenced with redoubled fury. Sir Robert Neville, at the head 
of the new reenforcement, charged into the center of the Scottish 
legions. Bruce and Edwin threw themselves into the breach, and 
fighting man to man, would have taken Neville had not a follower 
of that nobleman, wielding a ponderous mace, struck Bruce so ter- 
rible a blow as to fracture his helmet and cast him from his horse to 


the ground. The fall of so active a leader excited as much dismay 
in the surrounding Scots as it encouraged the reviving spirits of 
the enemy. Edwin exerted himself to preserve his prince from 
being trampled on, and while he fought for that purpose, and after- 
wards sent his senseless body off the field, Neville rescued Segrave 
and his knights. Lord Ruthven now contended with a feeble arm. 
Fatigued with the two preceding conflicts, covered with wounds, and 
perceiving indeed a host pouring upon them on all sides, the Scots, 
in despair, gave ground; some threw away their arms to fly the 
faster, and by thus exposing themselves, panic-struck, redoubled the 
confusion. Indeed, so great was the havoc that the day must have 
ended in the universal destruction of every Scot in the field had not 
Wallace felt the crisis, and that, as Guy de Longueville, he shed 
his blood in vain. In vain his terrified countrymen saw him rush into 
the thickest of the carnage ; in vain he called to them by all that was 
sacred to man, to stand to the last. He was a foreigner, and they 
had not confidence in his exhortations; death was before them, and 
they turned to fly. The fate of his country hung on an instant. The 
hist rays of the setting sun shone full on the rocky promontory of the 
hill which projected over the field of combat. He took his resolu- 
tion, and spurring his steed up the steep ascent, stood on the suromit, 
where he could be seen by the whole army ; then, taking off" his helmet, 
he waved it in the air with a shout; and having drawn aU eyes upon 
him, suddenly exclaimed, "Scots! you have this day vanquished the 
Southrons twice! If you be men, remember Cambus-Kenneth and 
follow William Wallace to a third victory!" The cry which issued 
from the amazed troops was that of a people who beheld the angel 
of their deliverance. "Wallace!" was the charge-word of every 
heart. The hero's courage seemed diffused through every breast, and 
with braced arms and determined spirits forming at once into the 
phalanx his thundering voice dictated, the Southrons again felt the 
weight of the Scottish steel, and a battle ensued which covered the 
glades of Hawthorndean with the bodies of its invaders. 

Sir John Segrave and Neville were both taken. And ere night 
closed in upon the carnage, Wallace granted quarter to those who 
sued for it, and receiving their arms, left them to repose in their 
depopulated camp. 



Wallace having planted an adequate force in charge of the pris- 
oners, went to the two Southron commanders to pay them the cour- 
tesy he thought due to their bravery and rank, before he retired 
with his followers towards Roslyn castle. He entered their tent 
alone. At sight of the warrior who had given them so signal a de- 
feat, the generals rose. Neville, who had received a slight wound 
in one of his arms, stretched out the other to Wallace. "Sir William 
Wallace," said he, "that you were obliged to declare a name so re- 
nowned before the troops I led could be made to relinquish their 
advantage was an acknowledgment in their favor almost equivalent 
to a victory." 

Sir John Segrave, who stood leaning on his sword with a dis- 
turbed countenance, interrupted him: "The fate of this day cannot 
be attributed to any earthly name or hand. I believe my sovereign 
will allow the zeal with which I have ever served him; and yet thirty 
thousand as brave men as ever crossed the marshes have fallen before 
a handful of Scots. Three victories won over Edward's troops in 
one day are not events of a common nature. God alone has been 
our vanquisher." — "I acknowledge it," cried Wallace; "and believe 
that he is on the side of justice." 

Edwin, with the Knight of the Green Plume, awaited Wallace's 
return from his prisoners' tent. Ruthven came up with Wallace 
before he joined them, and told him that Bruce was safe under the 
care of the sage of Ercildown; and that the regent, who had been 
wounded in the beginning of the day, was also in Roslyn castle. 
Wallace then called Edwin to him, giving him orders that all of 
the survivors who had suffered in these three desperate battles should 
be collected from amongst the slain and carried into the neighboring 
castles. The rest of the soldiers were commanded to take their re- 
freshment still under arms. These duties performed, Wallace turned 
with the eagerness of friendship to see how Bruce fared. 

At the gate of Roslyn castle, its aged master, the Lord Sinclair, 
met Wallace to bid him welcome. "Blessed be the saint of this 
day," exclaimed he, "for thus bringing our best defender. My gates, 



like my heart, open to receive the true regent of Scotland." — "I have 
only done a Scotsman's duty, venerable Sinclair," replied Wallace, 
"and must not arrogate a title which Scotland has transferred to other 
hands." — "Not Scotland, but rebelhon," replied the old chief. "It 
was rebellion against the gratitude of the nation that invested the 
Black Cummin with the regency, and only some similar infatuation 
has bestowed the same title on his brother." — "The present Lord 
Badenoch is an honest and a brave man," replied Wallace, "and, as 
I obey the power which gave him his authority, I am ready, by 
fidelity to him, to serve Scotland with as vigorous a zeal as ever." 

Wallace then asked to be conducted to his wounded friend. Sir 
Thomas de Longueville ; for Sinclair was ignorant of the real rank 
of his guest. Eager to oblige him, his noble host immediately led 
the way through a gallery, and, opening the door of an apartment, 
discovered to him Bruce lying on a couch, and a venerable figure, 
whose silver beard and sweeping robes announced hun to be the sage 
of Ercildown, was bathing the wounded chief's temples wath balsams. 
A young creature, beautiful as a ministering seraph, also hung over 
the prostrate chief. She held a golden casket in hand, out of which 
the sage drew the unctions he applied. At the sound of Wallace's 
voice, the wounded prince started on his arm, to greet his friend ; but 
he as instantly fell back. Wallace hastened forward. When Bruce 
recovered from the swoon into which the suddenness of his attempt 
to rise had thrown him, he felt a hand grasping his, and gently press- 
ing it, smiled ; a moment afterwards he opened his eyes, and in a low 
voice articulated, "My dear Wallace! you are victorious?" — "Com- 
pletely so, my prince and king," returned he, in the same tone. "All 
is now plain before you; speak but the word, and render Scotland 
happy!" — "Not yet, oh, not yet," whispered he. "^ly more than 
brother, allow Bruce to be himself again before he is known in the 
land of his fathers. This cruel wound in my head must heal first, 
and then I may again share your dangers and your glory." 

Wallace saw that his prince was not in a state to bear argument, 
and he turned towards the other inmates of the chamber. The sage 
advanced to him, and recognizing in Wallace's now manly form the 
fine youth he had seen with Sir Ronald Crawford at the claiming 
of the crown, he saluted him with a paternal affection, and then beck- 
oning the beautiful girl who had so compassionately hung over the 
couch of Bruce, she drew near the sage. He took her hand. "Sir 
WiUiam Wallace," said he, "this sweet child is the youngest daughter 
of the brave Mar, who died in the field of glory on the Carron. Her 
grandfather, the stalworth Knight of Thirlstane, fell a few weeks 


ago defending his castle, and I am almost all that is left to her, 
though she has, or had, a sister, of whom we can learn no tidings." 
Isabella, for it was she, covered her face to conceal her emotions. 
"Dear lady," said Wallace, "these heroes were both known to and be- 
loved by me, and now that Heaven has resumed them to itself, as 
a last act of friendship, I shall convey you to that sister whose heart 
yearns to receive you." 

To disengage Isabella's thoughts, Ercildown put a cup of the 
mingled juice of herbs into her hand, and commissioned her to give 
it to their invalid. Wallace now learned that his friend's wound 
was not only in the head, accompanied by a severe concussion, but 
that it must be many days before he could remove from his bed with- 
out danger. Anxious to release him from even the whispers of his 
companions, Wallace immediately proposed leaving him to rest, and, 
beckoning the chiefs, they followed him out of the apartment. 

On the following morning he was aroused at daybreak by the 
abrupt entrance of Andrew, Lord Bothwell, into his tent. "Mur- 
ray! my brave Murray!" cried he; "thou art welcome once more to 
the side of thy brother in arms!" The young Lord Bothwell returned 
his embrace in silence, but sitting down by Wallace's couch, he 
grasped his hand, and said, "I feel a happiness here which I have 
never known since the day of Falkirk. You quitted us, Wallace, 
and all seemed gone with you. But you return, bringing conquest 
and peace; you restore our Helen to her family; you bless us with 
yourself! And shall you not see again the gay Andrew Murray? 
Melancholy is not my climate, and I shall now live in your beams." 
— "Dear Murray," returned Wallace, "this enthusiasm can only be 
equaled by my joy in all that makes you and Scotland happy." He 
then proceeded to confide to him all that related to Bruce, and to 
describe the minutiae of those plans for his establishment which had 
only been hinted in his letters from France. Bothwell entered with 
ardor into these designs, and regretted that the difficulty he found in 
persuading the veterans of Lanark to follow hirh to any field where 
they did not expect to find their beloved Wallace had deprived him 
of the participation of the late danger and new glory of his friend. 
"To compensate for that privation," replied Wallace, "while our 
prince is disabled from pursuing victory in his own person, we must 
not allow our present advantages to lose their expected effects. You 
shall accompany me through the Lowlands, where we must recover 
the places which the ill-fortune of James Cummin has lost." 

Murray gladly embraced this opportunity of again sharing the 
field with Wallace, and the chiefs joined Bruce. Bothwell was pre- 


sented to his young sovereign, and Douglas entering, the discourse 
turned on their different posts of duty. Wallace suggested to his 
royal friend that as his restoration to health could not be speedy, it 
would be necessary not to await that event, but begin the recovery 
of the border counties before Edward could reenforce their garri- 
sons. Bruce sighed, but with a glow suffusing his pale face said, 
"Go, my friend! Bless Scotland which way you will, and let my 
acquiescence convince future ages that I love my country beyond 
my own fame. IVIen may say that I have lain on a couch while you 
fought for me; but I will bear all obloquy rather than withhold you 
an hour from the work of Scotland's peace." — "It is not for the 
breath of men, my dear prince," returned Wallace, "that either you 
or I act. Our deeds and intentions have one great Judge, and he 
will award the only true glory." 

Though the wounded John Cummin remained possessed of the 
title of regent, Wallace was virtually endowed with the authority. 
Whatever he suggested was acted upon as by a decree; the jeal- 
ousies which had driven him from his former supreme seat seemed 
to have died with their instigator, the late regent, and no chief of 
any consequence, excepting Soulis and Athol, breathed a word in 
opposition to the general gratitude. 

Wallace, having dictated his terms and sent his prisoners to Eng- 
land, commenced the march that was to clear the Lowlands of the 
foe. His own valiant band, headed by Scrymgeour and Lockhart 
of Lee, rushed towards his standard with a zeal that rendered each 
individual a host in himself. The fame of his new victories, sec- 
onded by the enthusiasm of the people and the determination of 
the troops, soon made him master of all the lately lost fortresses. 

Hardly four weeks were consumed in these conquests, and not 
a rood of land remained south of the Tay in the possession of Eng- 
land, excepting Berwick. Before that often-disputed stronghold, 
Wallace drew up his forces to commence a regular siege. The gov- 
ernor, intimidated by the powerful works which he saw the Scottish 
chief forming against the town, despatched a messenger to Edward 
with the tidings, not only praying for succors, but to inform him that 
if he continued to refuse the peace for which the Scots fought, he 
would find it necessary to begin the conquest of the kingdom anew. 



While Wallace was thus carrying all before him from the Grampian 
to the Cheviot Hills, Bruce was rapidly recovering. His eager 
wishes seemed to heal his wounds, and on the tenth day after the de- 
parture of Wallace, he left that couch which had been cheered by the 
tender Isabella. The ensuing Sabbath beheld him still more restored, 
and having imparted his intentions to the Lords Ruthven and Doug- 
las, who were with him, the next morning he joyfully buckled on his 
armor. Isabella, when she saw him thus clad, started, and the roses 
left her cheek. "I am armed to be your guide to Hunting-tower," 
said he, with a look that showed her he read her thoughts. He then 
called for pen and ink to write to Wallace. The reassured Isabella, 
rejoicing in the glad beams of his eyes, held the standish. As he 
dipped his pen, he looked at her with a tenderness that thrilled her 
soul, and made her bend her blushing face to hide emotions which 
whispered bliss. Thus, with a spirit wrapped in felicity, for victory 
hailed him from without, and love seemed to woo him within, he 
wrote the following letter to Wallace : 

"I am now well, my best friend. This day I attend my lovely 
nurse with her venerable guardian to Hunting-tower. Eastward of 
Perth almost every castle of consequence is yet filled by the South- 
rons, whom the folly of James Cummin allowed to reoccupy the 
places whence you had so lately driven them. I go to root them 
out, to emulate in the north what you are now doing in the south. 
You shall see me again when the banks of the Spey are as free as 
you have made the Forth. In all this I am yet Thomas de Longue- 
ville. Isabella knows me as no other, for would she not despise the 
unfamed Bruce? To deserve and win her love as De Longueville, 
and to xnarry her as King of Scotland, is the fond hope of your friend 
and brother, Robert . God speed me! I shall send you des- 
patches of my proceedings." 

Wallace had just made a successful attack upon the outworks 
of Berwick when this letter was put into his hand. He was sur- 
rounded by his chieftains, and having read it, he informed them that 
Sir Thomas de Longueville was going to the Spey to rid its castles 



of the enemy. "I doubt not that what he promises, God, and the 
justice of our cause, will perform," said Wallace, "and we may soon 
expect to hear Scotland has no enemies in her Highlands." 

But in this hope Wallace was disappointed. Day after day 
passed and no tidings from the north. He became anxious; Both- 
well, and Edwin too, began to share his uneasiness. Continued suc- 
cesses against Berwick had assured them of a speedy surrender, when 
unexpected succors being thrown in by sea, the confidence of the 
garrison became reexcited, and the ramparts appearing doubly 
manned, Wallace saw the only alternative was to surprise — take pos- 
session of the ships and turn the siege into a blockade. By a mas- 
terly stroke, he effected his design on the shipping, and having closed 
the Southrons within their walls he despatched Lord Bothwell to 
Hunting-tower, to learn the state of military operations there, and 
above all, to bring back tidings of the prince's health. 

On the evening of the very day in which Murray left Berwick, 
a desperate sally was made by the garrison, but they were beaten 
back with such effect that Wallace gained possession of one of their 
most commanding towers. The contest did not end till night, and 
after passing a brief while in the council-tent, listening to the sug- 
gestions of his friends relative to the use that might be made of the 
new acquisition, he retired to his own quarters at a late hour. At 
these momentous periods he never seemed to need sleep, and seated 
at his table, settling the dispositions for the succeeding day, he 
marked not the time, till the flame of his exhausted lamp expired in 
the socket. He replenished it, and had again resumed his labors 
when the curtain which covered the door of his tent was drawn aside 
and an armed man entered. Wallace looked up, and seeing that it 
was the Knight of the Green Plume, asked if anything had occurred 
from the town. 

"Nothing," replied the knight, in an agitated voice, and seating 
himself beside Wallace. "Any evil tidings from Perthshire?" de- 
manded Wallace, who now hardly doubted that ill news had arrived 
of Bruce. "None," was the knight's reply, "but I am come to unite 
myself forever to your destiny, or you behold me this night for the 
last time." Surprised at this address, and the emotion which shook 
the frame of the unknown warrior, Wallace answered him with ex- 
pressions of esteem, and added, "If it depend on me to unite so brave 
a man to my friendship forever, only speak the word, declare your 
name, and I am ready to seal the compact." — "My name," returned 
the knight, "will indeed put these protestations to the proof. I have 
fought by your side. Sir William Wallace. I would have died at 


any moment to have spared that breast a wound, and yet I dread to 
raise this visor to show you who I am. A look will make me live, or 
blast me." — "Your language confounds me, noble knight," replied 
Wallace; "I know of no man living, saving the violators of Lady 
Helen Mar's liberty, who need tremble before my eyes. It is not 
possible that either of these men is before me, and whoever you are, 
brave chief, your deeds have proved you worthy of a soldier's friend- 

The knight was silent. He took Wallace's hand — he grasped it; 
the arms that held it did indeed tremble. Wallace again spoke: 
"What is the meaning of this? I have a power to benefit, but none 
to injure." — "To benefit and to injure!" cried the knight in a trans- 
port of emotion; "you have my life in your hands. Look on me, and 
say whether I am to live or die." As the warrior spoke he cast him- 
self on his knees and threw open his visor. Wallace saw a fine but 
flushed face. It was much overshadowed by the helmet. "My 
friend," said he, attempting to raise him, "so little right can I have 
to the power you ascribe to me that, although it seems to me as if 

I had seen your features before, yet " — "You forget me," cried 

the knight, starting on his feet and throwing off his helmet to the 
ground; "again look on this face, and stab me at once by a second 
declaration that I am remembered no more." 

The countenance of Wallace now showed that he too well remem- 
bered it. He was pale and aghast. "Lady Mar," cried he, "not ex- 
pecting to see you under a warrior's casque, you will pardon me that 
I should not immediately recognize the widow of my friend." She 
gasped for articulation. "And is it thus," cried she, "you answer the 
sacrifices I have made for you? I have put on me this abhorrent 
steel; I have braved the dangers of many a hard-fought day, to con- 
vince you of a love unexampled in woman, and thus you recognize 
her who has risked honor and. life for you." — "With neither. Lady 
Mar," returned he. "I am grateful for the generous motives of your 
conduct, but in respect to the memory of him whose name you bear, 
I cannot but wish that so hazardous an instance of interest in me had 
been left undone." — "If that is all," returned she, drawing towards 
him, "it is in your power to ward from me every stigma. Who will 
asperse the name of Mar, when you displace it with that of Wal- 
lace? Make me yours, dearest of men," cried she, "and you will 
receive one who will be to you what woman never yet was, and who 
will endow you with territories nearly equal to those of the King 
of Scotland. My father is no more, and now, as Countess of Strat- 
liearn and Princess of the Orkneys, I have it in my power to bring 


a sovereignty to your head and the fondest of wives to your bosom." 
In vain Wallace attempted to raise her with gentleness from her 
indecorous situation. She had no perception but for the idea which 
had now take possession of her heart, and whispering him softly, said, 
"Be but my husband, Wallace, and all rights shall perish before my 
love. In these arms you shall bless the day you first saw Joanna 
of Strathearn." 

She saw not that every look and movement on her part filled 
Wallace with aversion, and not until he forcibly broke from her did 
she doubt the success of her fond caresses. 

"Lady Mar," said he, "I must repeat that I am not ungrateful 
for the regard you have bestowed on me; but such excess of attach- 
ment is lavished upon a man that is a bankrupt in love." Wallace 
said even more than this. He remonstrated with her on the ship- 
wreck she was making of her own happiness, in adhering thus tena- 
ciously to a man who could only regard her with esteem. Lady Mar 
threw herself upon her knees, she implored his pity, but still he con- 
tinued to urge her by every argument to relinquish her ill-directed 
love ; to return to her domains, before her absence could be generally 
known. She looked up to read his countenance. A friend's anxi- 
ety, nay, authority, was there, but no glow of passion. Her beauty, 
then, had been shown to a man without eyes; her eloquence poured 
on an ear that was deaf. In a paroxysm of despair she dashed the 
hand she held far from her, and standing proudly on her feet — "Hear 
me, thou man of stone!" cried she, "and answer me on your life and 
honor, for both depend on your reply: Is Joanna of Strathearn to 
be your wife?" 

"Cease to urge me," returned Wallace; "you already know the 
decision of this ever-widowed heart." Lady JNIar looked steadfastly 
at him. "Then receive my last determination," and drawing near 
him, with a desperate countenance, she suddenly plucked St. Louis' 
dagger from his girdle and struck it into his breast. He caught the 
hand which grasped the hilt. Her eyes glared with fury, and she ex- 
claimed, "I have slain thee, insolent triumpher in my love and ago- 
nies! I know that it is not for the dead INIarion you have trampled 
on my heart, but for the living Helen." As she spoke, he moved her 
hold from the dagger and drew the weapon from the wound. A 
torrent of blood flowed over his vest and stained the hand that grasped 
hers. She turned of a deadly paleness, but a demoniac joy still 
gleamed in her eyes. "Lady Mar," cried he, while he thrust the 
thickness of his scarf into the wound, "I pardon this outrage. Go 
in peace ; and I shall never breathe to man nor woman the occurrences 


of this night. Only remember that with regard to Lady Helen, my 
wishes are as pure as her own innocence." — "So they may be now, 
immaculate Wallace!" answered she, with bitter derision. "Think 
not to impose on her who knows how this vestal Helen followed you 
in page's attire. Did you not follow her to France? Did you not 
tear her from the arms of Lord Aymer de Valence ? Wallace, I now 
know you; and as I have been fool enough to love you beyond all 
woman's love, I swear by all the powers to make you feel the weight 
of woman's hatred!" 

Her denunciations had no effect on Wallace, but her slander 
against her step-daughter agitated him with an indignation that al- 
most dispossessed him of himself. In vehement words he denied all 
that she had alleged against Helen, and appealed to the whole court 
of France to witness her spotless innocence. Lady Mar exulted in 
this emotion, though every sentence, by the interest it displayed in 
its object, seemed to establish the truth of a suspicion which she had 
at first only uttered from the vague workings of her revenge. Mad- 
dened that another should have been preferred before her, her jeal- 
ous pride blazed into redoubled flame. "I go," cried she, "not to 
proclaim Helen's dishonor to the world, but to deprive her of her 
lover — to yield the rebel Wallace into the hands of justice! When 
on the scaffold, remember that it was Joanna of Strathearn who 
laid thy matchless head upon the block! Remember that my curse 
pursues you here and hereafter!" Fire seemed to dart from her 
scornful eyes, and with the last malediction thundering from her 
tongue, she darted from his sight. 



Next morning Wallace was recalled from the confusion into which 
his visitor had thrown his mind, by the entrance of Ker, who came 
with the reports of the night. In the course of the communication 
he mentioned that about three hours before sunrise the Knight of 
the Green Plume had left the camp with his despatches for Stirling. 
Wallace was scarcely surprised at this ready falsehood of Lady 
Mar's, and not intending to betray her, he merely said, "Long ere 
he appears again, I hope we shall have good tidings from our friends 
in the north." 

But day succeeded day, and notwithstanding Bothwell's embassy, 
no accounts arrived. The countess had left an emissary in the Scot- 
tish camp who did as she had done before, intercept all messengers 
from Perthshire. 

Indeed, from the first of her flight to Wallace, to the hour of 
her quitting him, she had never halted in her purpose from any re- 
gard to honor. Previous to her stealing from Hunting-tower she 
had bribed the seneschal to say that on the morning of her disappear- 
ance he had met a knight near St. Concal's well, coming to the castle, 
who told him that the Countess of ^Nlar was gone on a secret mission 
to Norway, and she therefore had commanded him, by that knight, 
to enjoin her sister-in-law, for the sake of the cause most dear to 
them all, not to acquaint Lord Ruthven, or any of their friends, 
with her departure, till she should return with happy news for Scot- 
land. Fearful that Helen might communicate her flight to Wallace, 
from the moment of her joining him at Linlithgow she intercepted 
every letter from Hunting-tower, and when Bruce went to that 
castle, she continued the practice, being jealous of what might be 
said of Helen by this Sir Thomas de Longueville. To this end, even 
after she left the camp, all packets from Perthshire were conveyed 
to her by the spy she had stationed near Wallace, while all which 
were sent from him to Hunting-tower were stopped by the treacher- 
ous seneschal and thrown into the flames. No letters, however, ever 
came from Helen; a few bore Lord Ruthven's superscription, and 
all the rest were addressed by Sir Thomas de Longueville to Wal- 



lace. She broke the seals of this correspondence, but she looked in 
vain on their contents. Bruce and his friend, as well as Ruthven, 
wrote in a cipher, and only one passage, which the former had by 
chance written in the common character, could she ever make out. 
It ran thus: 

"I have just returned to Hunting-tower, after the capture of 
Kinfouns. Lady Helen sits by me on one side, Isabella on the other. 
Isabella smiles on me like the spirit of happiness. Helen's look is 
not less gracious; for I tell her I am writing to Sir William Wallace. 
She smiles, but it is with such a smile as that with which a saint would 
relinquish to heaven the dearest object of its love. Her manner 
checks me, dear Wallace, but I would give worlds that you could 
bring your heart to make her smile, as I do her sister." 

Lady Mar crushed the wish in her hand, and though she was 
never able to decipher a word more of Bruce's numerous letters, she 
destroyed them all. 

She had ever shunned the eyes of young Lord Bothwell, and to 
have him on the spot when she should discover herself to Wallace, 
she thought would only invite discomfiture. Affecting to share the 
general anxiety respecting the failure of communications from the 
north, she it was who had suggested the propriety of sending some 
one to make inquiries. By covert insinuations, she easily induced 
Ker to propose Bothwell to Wallace, and, on the very night that she 
had prevailed to despatch him on this embassy, she went to declare 
herself to tjbe man for whom she had thus sunk herself in falsehood. 

Though Wallace heard the denunciation with which she left his 
presence, yet he did not conceive it was more than the rage of pas- 
sion, and, anticipating persecutions rather from her love than her 
revenge, he was relieved by the intelligence that the Knight of the 
Green Plume had really taken his departure. 

Wallace now hourly anticipated the surrender of the enemy. Re- 
duced for want of provisions, and seeing all succors cut off by the 
seizure of the fleet, the inhabitants, detesting their new rulers, col- 
lected in bands, and lying in wait for the soldiers of the garrison, 
murdered them in great numbers. But here the evil did not end ; for 
by the punishments which the governor thought proper to inflict by 
lots on the guilty or the guiltless the distress of the town was aug- 
mented to a horrible degree. Such a state of things could not be 
long maintained. Aware that should he continue in the fortress his 
troops must perish either by insurrection within or from the enemy 
without, the Southron commander determined no longer to wait the 
appearance of relief, and to stop the internal confusion he sent a flag 


of truce to Wallace, accepting and signing his offered terms of 
capitulation. By this deed he engaged to open the gates at sunset, 
but begged the interval between noon and that hour to allow him 
time to settle the animosity between his men and the people, before 
he should surrender his followers entirely into the hands of the Scots. 
Having despatched his assent to this request of the governor's, 
Wallace retired to his own tent. That he had effected his purpose 
without the carnage which must have ensued had he again stormed 
the place gratified his humanity, and congratulating himself on such 
a termination of the siege, he turned with more than usual cheerful- 
ness towards a herald who brought him a packet from the north. 
The man withdrew and Wallace broke the seal ; but what was his as- 
tonishment to find it a citation for himself to repair immediately to 
Stirling, "to answer," it said, "certain charges brought against him 
by an authority too illustrious to be set aside without examination." 
He had hardly read this extraordinary mandate, when Sir Simon 
Eraser, his second in command, entered, and with consternation in 
his looks, put an open letter into his hand. It ran as follows : 

Sir Simon Fraser: Allegations of treason against the liberties of Scotland 
having been preferred against Sir William Wallace, until he clears himself of these 
charges to the lords of Scotland here assembled, you, Sir Simon Fraser, are directed 
to assume in his stead command of the forces ; and as the first act of your duty, you 
are ordered to send the accused towards Stirling under a strong guard, within an 
hour after you receive this despatch. 

(Signed) John Cummin, 

Earl of Badenoch, Lord Regent of Scotland. 
Stirling Castle. 

Wallace returned the letter to Fraser, with an undisturbed coun- 
tenance. "I have received a similar order from the regent," said 
he, "and though I cannot guess the source whence these accusations 
spring, I shall require no guard to speed me to the scene of my de- 
fense. I am ready to go, my friend, and happy to resign the brave 
garrison that has just surrendered, to your honor." Fraser an- 
swered that he should be emulous to follow his example in all things, 
and to abide by his agreements with the Southron governor. He 
then retired to prepare the army for the departure of their com- 
mander, and much against his feelings to call out the escort that was 
to attend the calumniated chief to Stirling. 

When the marshal of the army read to the officers and men the 
orders of the regent, consternation seized on one part of the troops, 
and violent indignation agitated the other. The veterans who had 


followed the chief of Ellerslie, from the first hour of his appearing 
as a patriot in arms, could not brook this aspersion upon their leader's 
honor, and had it not been for the exhortations of Scrymgeour and 
Lockhart, they woidd have risen in instant revolt. Though per- 
suaded to sheathe their swords, they could not be withheld from 
quitting the field and marching to Wallace's tent. He was con- 
versing with Edwin when they arrived, and, in some measure, he had 
broken the shock to him of so dishonoring a charge by his being the 
first to communicate it. While Edwin strove to guess who could 
be the inventor of so dire a falsehood, he awakened an alarm in 
Wallace for Bruce, which could not be excited for himself, by sug- 
gesting that perhaps some intimation had been given to the most 
ambitious of the lords respecting the arrival of their rightful prince. 
"And yet," returned Wallace, "I cannot altogether suppose that, 
for even they could not torture my share in Bruce's restoration to 
his country into anything like treason. But," added he with a smile, 
"we need not disturb ourselves with such thoughts; the regent is in 
our prince's confidence, and did this accusation relate to him, he 
would not, on such a plea, have arraigned me as a traitor." 

Edwin again revolved in his mind the nature of the charge, and, 
at last, suddenly recollecting the Knight of the Green Plume, he 
asked if it were not possible that he might be the traitor. "I must 
confess to you," continued Edwin, "that this knight, who ever ap- 
peared to dislike your closest friends, seems to me the probable in- 
stigator of this mischief, and is, perhaps, the author of the strange 
failure of communication between you and Bruce. Accounts have 
not arrived even since Bothwell went, and that is more than natural. 
Though brave in his deeds, this unknown may prove only the more 
subtle agent of our enemies." 

Wallace changed color at these suggestions, but merely replied, 
"A few hours will decide your suspicion, for I shall lose no time in 
confronting my accuser." — "I go with you," said Edwin; "never 
while I live will I consent to lose sight of you again." 

It was at this moment that the approach of the Lanark veterans 
was heard from without. The whole band rushed into the tent, and 
Stephen Ireland, who was foremost, raising his voice above the rest, 
exclaimed, "They are the traitors, my lord, who accuse you! It is 
determined by our corrupted thanes that Scotland shall be sacrificed, 
and you are to be made the first victim. Lead us on, and we will